Last night hurt if you’re a Raptors fan or a Celtics hater. After bludgeoning the C’s for the majority of the game — to the point where Kris Humphries was waltzing down the lane for dunks and hanging on the rim, and Jason Kapono was getting uncontested layups out of the half-court set — Toronto fell apart in the fourth quarter in a few key areas: protecting the ball, getting the ball into the hands of their best player, and not getting their spine pulled out, Sub-Zero-style, by Paul Pierce … Toronto was up by one midway through the fourth when Pierce and Anthony Parker started trading threes. Eddie House‘s triple gave Boston its first lead since early in the first, and while the Raps briefly regained the lead on another Parker three, Ray Allen tied it up with another trey at the 2:50 mark. Then it was the Pierce Show. On his way to dropping 22 points in the fourth quarter alone (two shy of the franchise record), Pierce scored three straight buckets — a turnaround jumper, a pull-up J, and a driving layup — on a hapless Kapono. He finished with 36 points for the game. We were thinking Sam Mitchell would get the hint and switch Parker onto Pierce and let Kapono chase Ray around the three-point arc, but who are we to question the 2007 NBA Coach of the Year? … FYI, Chris Bosh was nowhere to be seen during the entire sequence we just described. Kevin Garnett (21 pts, 10 rebs) went all Eraser on Bosh (9 pts, 7 rebs), and Big Baby/Powe deserve credit too for taking Jermaine O’Neal out of the game when it mattered. O’Neal had scored 19 in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second until he hit a pair of free throws with about 4:30 remaining. Apologies to CB4 if KG saw Austin calling Bosh the best offensive PF in the East and took it personally … Before Pierce took over, you saw why the Raptors were good enough to crack the Top 10 in our NBA Hit List power ranking. They moved the ball around, out-hustled Boston, made their shots, and played the best defense we’ve seen them play so far this season; the C’s had to settle for jumper after jumper (much to the chagrin of Tommy Heinsohn and the booing Boston fans) and looked collectively rattled … Kendrick Perkins (2 pts, 4 rebs, 4 fouls) struggled more than anybody. On one possession Jose Calderon snatched an offensive board from Perk while he just stood there and watched like Lot’s wife. Calderon then re-started the offense and dumped an entry pass to J.O., who freaked Perkins with the okey-doke for a bucket. (Did we just steal a Stu Scott line?) Later on we found out that yesterday was Perk’s birthday, so maybe his mind was elsewhere — an elsewhere that included a bunch of singles and some high-quality jugs … Heinsohn got his first look at Andrea Bargnani and noticed he’s “put some meat on.” The inevitable pasta joke was made 0.7 seconds later … How long before “Trading Luis Scola for nothing” gets leapfrogged by “Trading Rudy Fernandez for nothing” on the Dumb Decisions By Smart GM’s list? We love Matt Barnes as much as the next skater, but it’s obvious the Suns would rather have Fernandez right now. Rudy was big in Portland’s win at Orlando, hitting two threes in a decisive fourth-quarter run, finishing with 16 points and three steals off the bench, and helping offset monster stat lines from Hedo “The Gentleman Masher” Turkoglu (35 pts) and Dwight Howard (29 pts, 19 rebs). Brandon Roy scored 27 for the Blazers … And for you Duke haters out there, you can smile at the fact that J.J. Redick and Shavlik Randolph each registered DNP-CD’s … Just when we were getting on D-Wade for not hitting a three all season, he knocked down four treys against the Nets, most of them during a fourth-quarter comeback (including one off the glass) that helped the Heat pick up the win. Before that it was Yi Jianlian putting on a shooting clinic, as he stuck five threes on his way to 24 points. Wade finished with 33 points, five assists and four steals … O.J. Mayo dropped 33 against the Suns, the second day in a row he’s gone for 30-plus. Memphis was up by two with about two minutes left when Leandro Barbosa hit a three, and a combination of Memphis misses and turnovers and Steve Nash free throws ended it … At one point during Pacers/Thunder you had Robert Swift, Roy Hibbert and Josh McRoberts on the court at the same time; and worse than that, it seemed Jim O’Brien and P.J. Carlesimo were intentionally trying to get each of them the ball. That had to be some kind of inside joke between them. And did Swift lose some teeth recently? As if the World’s Biggest Goth Kid couldn’t get any more weird-looking; any groupie who makes their way over to his table might as well have “DESPERATE” tatted on her lower back … Kevin Durant dropped 37 points along with eight boards and three blocks, and OKC hung in there, but it was too much T.J. Ford (24 pts, 7 rebs, 10 asts) down the stretch. Like we said in the Hit List, T.J.’s gunner style works for Indy; yesterday he was going off to the point we forgot Luke Ridnour doesn’t still play for the other team … Have you seen MTV’s “50 Cent: The Money and the Power”? It’s basically “I Want to Work for Diddy,” only it’s 50 acting out his Diddy fantasies. The first episode shows 50 break the contestants up into teams, chain each team together, and have them race through Brooklyn — only there’s no cheesecake involved. Although it’s a total knockoff, at least Tony Yayo has an actual job now as 50′s lackey. Oh wait … We’re out like running the offense through McRoberts …
Smack / Nov 11, 2008 / 1:31 am
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