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Raptors can’t close out game or possessions


That was a relatively disappointing game, wasn’t it?

And the answer to the burning question is in the game story so no need to harp on it. Deal? Deal.

And I’m hereby declaring a moratorium here on the use of the phrase “iso ball” because it’s become this all-encompassing and dead wrong cliché. Go watch the screens set before any pass is made, the misdirection and movement on the weak side. Stuff happens, you just see one guy get the ball and shoot and miss that stuff because it’s easier to drop a cliché than pay attention.

End o’ rant.

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THREE POINTERS

A step too slow

That’s what the defence was far too often and in particular the big men, who simply have to be better at getting out to shooters.

Lucas Nogueira, who certainly didn’t have himself a good day by any stretch of the imagination, had a couple of slow, lazy closeouts when the Celtics were taking control in the third quarter.

He was two steps too slow getting out on Marcus Smart one time and then gave a half effort trying to contest a Jaylen Brown three-pointer not too long after.

This is not to pick on Bebe entirely but it’s an example of the inconsistencies that make it frustrating to watch him sometimes. He did have seven rebounds and that’s good but slow reaction and missing all the shots he took make it one of those days.

A tough few minutes

End of the second quarter and Jonas Valanciunas found himself on an island three times with three distinctly different results, again underscoring one of the team’s defensive issues.

He switches out on Marcus Morris in the corner with about four minutes left, does not get blown by and contests a Morris miss.  He gets in the same predicament a few minutes later and contests the shot well, although Morris made it, which is going to happen.

Then on the final play of the half, he get switched out onto Terry Rozier (a bad mismatch they should avoid at all costs) and fouls Rozier as he makes a three-pointer for a momentum-dulling four-point play.

Funny thing, though. For the most part Valanciunas has been very good defensively this year on shooters and drivers on the perimeter and was in two out of three plays in that stretch except the Celtics scored seven points.

Need more

I’ll say this one more time:

C.J. Miles is too valuable for what they want to do to be playing so little, especially in a game where Norm Powell lasts all of seven minutes.

I get that OG gives them a defensive presence and they wanted VanVleet on the court for defence against smaller guards but Miles simply has to play more than 21 minutes a night like he did Sunday.

And the fact he’s only once played more than 25 minutes in a game – that was in Los Angeles against the Lakers is a bit puzzling.

A bit more, as usual.

Not sure when or why I Shazam’d this but I did. So …

Oh yeah.

Some pucks in deep, the cycle was like few I’ve ever seen before and there was some compete level. And a fight.

I will tell you, though, when they got to the third period and it was a one-goal game and the Bostons had two more guys on the ice than the Torontos did there was some overtime/shootout angst but the PK was wondrous and it was time to relax and write.

And, with this, I bequeath the Pucks back to McGran and Zorro, where they belong.

I had no idea it’s like a 4 ½ flight from here in Boston to there in Houston so if you want to knock a few mailbag questions out of the way silly early, I don’t go until about 1 p.m. East that’d be fine.

Or if you just wanted to give me something to read, get over askdoug@thestar.ca and do what you do so well.

Here’s a question:

How are Blue Jays fans going to rationalize their still deep and abiding love and admiration for Alex Anthopoulos with their obvious distaste for the tomahawk chop now that Alex is seemingly poised to become the general manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Can the two be separated?

On one hand, you’d sure have to think the Argonauts caught a major break this weekend when Saskatchewan won the East semifinal (yeah, you read that right, Saskatchewan, East semifinal) to bring the Roughriders to town for Sunday’s East final.

If nothing else, it’s going to put some money into the pockets of ownership because the one undeniable fact about life in the CFL is that Roughrider fans travel like no others and I’m guessing attendance Sunday gets juiced by something like 2,000 or 4,000 fans.

But the other undeniable fact is that the Roughrider fans are crazy good and if there was any thought of a true home field advantage for the Argos, I fear it’s gone.

Anyway, I have no rooting interest in any of this but there is no question the CFL playoffs are more fun with Saskatchewan and its legion of intense followers in them.

TORONTO STAR

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