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Celtics-Raptors Game Blog: First Quarter

01.12.09 at 5:39 pm ET

Greetings from the Garden where the Celtics host the Toronto Raptors on the back-end of their home and home series. The home and home is a curious thing, is it not? A friend of mine who knows nothing about basketball wondered if the two teams flew back together from Toronto after the game yesterday. You laugh, but think about it. Doesn’t that make sense? Why waste the gas when you get two teams on one plane, right?

At any rate, they are here, you are there and Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen are on the bench in street clothes. For how long? Doc, and remember it’s just a nickname, speculated they could be out all week, if not longer. What does it mean? A few things.

1. Brian Scalabrine starts again tonight, but don’t be surprised to see Leon Powe in there against teams with bigger centers.

2. Patrick O’Bryant could get meaningful minutes. Could.

3. Sam Cassell will not, however. “He’s kind of like a carton of milk,” Doc said. “He’s got an expiration date.” In other words, Doc doesn’t want to break Sam-I-Am out of the fridge just yet, lest he curdles by April.

4. Bill Walker is in uniform, but when asked if Walker and JR Giddens could play, Doc kind of shrugged, so don’t bet on it.

Jose Calderon is not playing tonight either, by the way. Will Solomon goes in his place.

So, away we go…

FIRST QUARTER WRAP: After one, it’s about what you would expect. Both teams are struggling from the outside and the pace is kind of sluggish. Paul Pierce is off to a strong start, but Kevin Garnett is having trouble getting his jumper going and Ray Allen has yet to attempt a shot. The Celtics got Toronto in the penalty at the 4:32 mark but failed to capitalize.

The Raps came back from a 12-5 deficit and take a 23-19 lead into the second, where Jess has you covered.

First Quarter Observations

— Doc thought it was probably 50-50 that Paul Pierce could play tonight. But there was no doubt when got to the arena. “Paul is tough,” Rivers said. “He scuffed it off. ‘Of course I’ll play.’ That’s just Paul.” And he has the first five points of the game for the C’s.

— Chris Bosh is just deadly with that 20-foot jumper. I’m curious to see how he and Kevin Garnett match up tonight. I really thought KG got the better of it (second item down), considering the amount each player means to his team offensively. The Celtics can win when Garnett shoots 3-for-16. It’s much tougher for the Raptors to win when Bosh struggles, especially with Calderon out.

— Great start for the Celtics up 12-5. Energy is going to be a huge thing tonight, and the more the Celtics bring at the outset the better off they’ll be in the long run. So far, so good.

— Interesting trade note to pass along. That three-way deal between the Bobcats, Mavs and what used to be the Sonics? Looks like it’s off. That’s what ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting. Any move with the former Sonics is worth monitoring because that’s where Joe Smith is for the time being. That deal would have cost the team that’s not in Seattle Earl Watson and got it back Jerry Stackhouse, which wouldn’t have affected Smith very much

— Every player in the Toronto starting lineup has a foul now and the Raps are in the penalty at the 4:32 mark.

— The shots aren’t going down but the ball movement is crisp. Translation: Tired legs.

— The Raps are forcing Andrea Barganini in the post, probably because he’s matched up with Brian Scalabrine, but he is 1-for-6 from the floor tonight. Jess reported on the Facebook campaign to put Scal on the All-Star team, how about one for the All-Defensive team?

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