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Saturday, January 8, 2011
Any Big East fan could have told you, Luke Harangody is a beast
Earlier in the week, I made a mistake when I referred to Celtics guard Von Wafer as the last guy on the bench. I neglected to mention rookie guard Avery Bradley and rookie forward Luke Harangody, two college players that came out too early (Bradley) or seem to be undersized and without a position in the NBA (Harangody).
With Kevin Garnett out the last five games, Harangody has been playing more minutes and last night was his first real solid performance as he put up 17 points and 11 rebounds (in a career-high 27 minutes) that fueled a 122-102 win over the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden.
Anyone that pays attention to college hoops could tell you that both, particularly Harangody can ball. You don't play four years in the Big East at Notre Dame and dominate like he did when you're a stiff.
Clearly, it'll be hard for him to find minutes on a championship contender like this one but he seems to have the ingredients to be a solid role player in the Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe mode.
Since the Raptors (12-24) don't play any semblance of defense, it should be no surprise that the Celtics (28-7) usually own them, save for one weird choke job in Toronto earlier this season.
Paul Pierce led the Cs with 20 points, Ray Allen scored 17, Glen Davis had 14 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 12 points. Nate Robinson regained his scoring touch, putting up 15 points off the bench.
Rajon Rondo had nine points and seven assists in 26 minutes (with six turnovers) as Doc Rivers tried to limit the starters minutes in the first night of a back to back stretch and three games in four nights.
DeMar Derozan paced Toronto with 20 points, Andrea Bargnani and Linas Kleiza both added 17 points, Jose Calderon had 11 points and nine assists while Amir Johnson scored 10. Off the bench, Leandro Barbosa scored 15.
The Raptors must possess as many foreigners (four played last night) as almost any other team, fitting since they're in Toronto which is a very diverse city, especially for Canada. It also makes sense that they don't have any interest in stopping anybody on the defensive end.
Boston was up 34-22 after one quarter and 67-45 at halftime (their most first half points this season). The Raptors cut into the deficit a bit in the third quarter (32-27) but it didn't matter as the Celts closed it out (28-25) and sent everyone home happy.
It was the second straight outstanding shooting display by Boston (57.5%) and Toronto wasn't shabby either (50.6%). The Celts made five more 3-pointers (11-6), three more free throws (19-16) and had 12 more rebounds (43-31). Boston had six more assists (31-25), three off their season-high while Toronto had four more steals (8-4) and five more blocks (7-2).
Thanks to Rondo's carelessness, the Cs had five more turnovers (16-11) and half the amount of fastbreak points that the Raptors had (14-7). The Cs did pound it down low with 10 more points in the paint (54-44).
Boston is in Chicago to face the Bulls tonight. Derrick Rose seems to always play well against the Celtics and this has developed into one of the Cs bigger rivalries over the past few seasons.