Piercing blow for Raptors

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

BOSTON -- Ray Allen one game, Paul Pierce the next.

The Raptors seem to be able to contain one or the other but holding both down at the same time is just too much for this team at this point in their development.

Throw in Kevin Garnett, who did his normal lock-down job on Chris Bosh, into the mix and you have the recipe for a nearly unbeatable opponent.

It certainly seems that way with the Boston Celtics having swept all four this year, but Bosh isn't buying that theory.

"We shot ourselves in the foot tonight," Bosh said after the Raptors blew a 10-point lead in the third quarter, rallied to force overtime but then were no match for the Celtics in the extra frame as they went on to lose 115-109.

"There were a couple of rotations that we made mistakes on," Bosh said. "We gave up a couple of layups and on one we left the hottest guy on the court, Paul Pierce, wide open. Out of everybody, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen seem to get open at the wrong time."

For Bosh, the problem last night, as it was Sunday when Allen was going off for a season high 36, was guys over-helping which led directly to the open looks.

"We get so caught up in helping out baseline that we do it too much," Bosh said. "And while helping out a teammates is a great thing and I love it, but if we have our guy contained don't over-help. We got caught doing that a little bit."

Pierce, showing no signs of any problems after banging knees with teammate Brian Scalabrine in Toronto, knocked down a game-high 39 points including 14 in the third quarter when the Celtics clawed their way back into a game.

The overtime loss was a far better showing by the Raptors than that which the fans in Toronto had to endure Sunday -- particularly in that first quarter when Allen single-handedly torched the Raps -- but in the end it was just another loss to the Celtics.

Moral victories when you're seven games south of the .500 mark, as the Raptors are this morning, just don't exist.

Not even Andrea Bargnani's overtime-forcing three-pointer with a second left in regulation is going to make this one any easier to digest.

Bosh, who spent most of the night with Garnett just about inside his own uniform with the defence so tight, wound up with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. From the third quarter on, he was just 2-for-6 including the extra period when he managed just two free throws.

"You work hard to get open, then he overplays you," Bosh said of Garnett's skin-to-skin defence.

"Then he has help behind him so it's tough. I made the right pass but in situations like that I want my team to be aggressive. Guys have to look for their shot."


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