There are clunkers, and then there are games like the Celtics played on Friday night.
Of course, I'm giving the Celtics credit by saying that they actually "played" the Toronto Raptors. I think some more realistic terms would be "walked through," "forgot to attend" and "were in a coma for."
I've seen more energy and aggressiveness in mausoleums compared to what Boston had to offer. Doc Rivers knew it as well, throwing about 2,846 different lineup combinations on the floor in the first quarter alone. Nothing worked as the Celtics — with their lack of tempo and effort — were somehow able to muster up 34 points by halftime. Thanks to Toronto being absolutely lousy, the scoreboard said that they weren't really out of it at all until late in the game.
However, those people who possess semi-working eyes knew better and were able to see the pathetic play being put up by the sorry-excuse-for-an-NBA-basketball-team that took the floor on this night. The Celtics that I know aren't outscored by 14 points in the paint by a Toronto team that normally grows roots on the perimeter. The Celtics that I know score more than three fast-break points over an entire game. The Celtics that I know put up more of a fight than what the fans were forced to witness.
The Raptors grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and attempted 10 more shots than Boston on the night, which in most cases is a pretty good recipe for winning and a decent measuring stick in terms of effort and energy. Then again, so are the points in the paint and fast-break points that I typed about with a Perk-like scowl on my face.
With the exceptions of Mickael Pietrus and Avery Bradley, the Celtics looked more than content to just stand around with their thumbs stuck where the sun doesn't shine as they expected to beat Toronto simply based on the fact that they were the Boston Celtics and they always beat the Toronto Raptors. Breaking news just in: You actually have to play in order to beat someone. In the famous words of Herm Edwards, you play to win the game. You don't play to just play.
The Celtics didn't deserve to win this game. The Celtics didn't deserve to be on the basketball court. I expect a much better effort from them on Sunday afternoon against Chicago for two reasons. The Bulls aren't craptastic and it's not going to be the second game of a back-to-back.
After this performance, however, it's hard to be very confident going into that game.