Rough start kills Raptors

The Raptors' Jarrett Jack (right) drives to the basket against the Celtics' Rajon Rondo on Sunday....

The Raptors' Jarrett Jack (right) drives to the basket against the Celtics' Rajon Rondo on Sunday. (QMI Agency/Stan Behal)

MIKE GANTER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Every NBA team has its own routine as it comes out to take the floor.

And every team’s bench players have their own unique welcomes for the starters as they enter the court.

Glen (Big Baby) Davis’ welcome involves shadow-boxing with the likes of Boston Celtics starters Kendrick Perkins or, in the case of Rasheed Wallace, shadow kick-boxing.

That was an appropriate start for yesterday’s game at the Air Canada Centre as the Celtics came out swinging and had the Raptors on the canvas down 10-0 after just 1:41.

A Jay Triano timeout to hit the reset button appeared to do the trick but some heavy damage already had been done.

It wasn’t the end of the game — the Raptors did counter-punch, getting that deficit down to two at one point and three on two other occasions — but they never got back on even terms in an eventual 114-107 loss.

The Celtics were led by the unlikely duo or Wallace and Rajon Rondo, with a huge assist from Eddie House off the bench as the usual Raptors killers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, were held to 16 points apiece.

Rondo had a triple-double while Wallace hit five of his seven three-point attempts in a season-high 29-point afternoon. All House did, as he seems to do with regularity against the Raptors, was come off the bench and kill any Raptor momentum with a series of three-pointers. He finished the day with 11 points, nine of them off threes.

“After that 10-0 run, for the most part we had a bunch of instances where we gave them a lot of contested shots and they basically knocked them down,” Chris Bosh said when asked for his take on the afternoon.

The win by the Celtics was the seventh in a row, nine if you count pre-season, when facing Toronto.

The poor start didn’t decide the game, but it did set the tone.

“It was a combination of us not being aggressive, settling for jump shots and not attacking the paint,” Jarrett Jack said. “As the game went on, we got aggressive and started attacking. We were able to get some easy baskets and knock down some shots, but those first two minutes showed us you can’t be lackadaisical.

“Against that team you have to play a full 48 minutes.”

If there was a positive from yesterday’s loss it was the fact that the Raptors got back up off the canvas after that initial knockdown and stayed in the game. They didn’t get outworked, they didn’t appear to be intimidated. They simply got beat by a team that is better than they are right now.

Bosh, though, didn’t see any progress.

“You really don’t want to pay too much attention to this game because we did start out pretty bad,” Bosh said.

The Raptors will get one more regular-season shot at these Celtics on April 7. Both teams will be playing the back end of back-to-backs. Maybe that will turn out to be the recipe for a win over this club.


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