Sports Bruce Arthur: Celtics’ gains adds to Raptors’ pains

06:16  17 may  2018
06:16  17 may  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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  How Many Minutes is NBA Overtime? How Many Minutes is NBA Overtime?Overtime in the NBA, especially in the playoffs, is one of the best periods in sports.

So, what do the Boston Celtics have that the Toronto Raptors didn’t against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers? And now the Bucks have Mike Budenholzer, the coach the Raptors were after. The losing never ends, Bruce Arthur writes.

The latest Tweets from Bruce Arthur (@ bruce _ arthur ). Toronto Star sports columnist, father of four, TSN contributor. I'd like me to tweet about sports and silly stuff more, too. Bruce Arthur added


It seems strange to say, but one round after being eliminated from the playoffs, the Toronto Raptors are losing the Eastern Conference final. Sure, on the scoreboard it says the Boston Celtics lead the Cleveland Cavaliers two games to none, and who are we to argue with that? The games are on television and everything.

But the subhead is that the Toronto Raptors look ever more like chumps, more like suckers, than they did when they were swept out of the second round as the No. 1 seed. The Celtics are tough, smart, fearless. The Celtics are a gang of handsome teenagers who ride motorcycles in formation and get straight A’s. Boy, they’ve been good.

Bruce Arthur: Raptors’ demise triggers mirth of a nation

  Bruce Arthur: Raptors’ demise triggers mirth of a nation Bruce Arthur: Raptors’ demise triggers mirth of a nation“How embarrassing is it, though? You change everything about yourselves to beat this one person, and he’s howling with laughter at you, shooting basketballs out his butt into the basket?” said Le Batard.

Bruce Arthur : Celtics ’ gains adds to Raptors ’ pains . So, what do the Boston Celtics have that the Toronto Raptors didn’t against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers? They play smarter and tougher, and have won close games all the way along.

The Celtics defeated the Raptors , 110-99 tonight in Boston. Jayson Tatum scored 24 points (9-16 FG) to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists for the

LeBron James, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have dug a 2-0 hole in the Eastern Conference final, after sweeping the Raptors in round two.© Maddie Meyer LeBron James, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have dug a 2-0 hole in the Eastern Conference final, after sweeping the Raptors in round two.

Meanwhile, LeBron James and his ragged band of work colleagues have been made to look, in no specific order: uncertain, tired, disjointed, divided and insufficient. Some of the sharpest Cleveland observers see an exhausted team with a star who could leave. They see a franchise ready to implode.

In other words, the Celtics, without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, have performed the simplest trick there is: They made the Cleveland Cavaliers look like their actual selves.

And in the land of the exiled, the Raptors are losing status every day. They were highly interested in former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, but Budenholzer signed Wednesday with the Milwaukee Bucks, who have a superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo and upside. That left the Raptors with a second choice — likely assistant Nick Nurse, who redesigned Toronto’s offence this year, but has never been an NBA head coach. There are a lot of positive words for Nurse among some coaches. But with the top, most experienced option off the board, everything is a risk.

Bruce Arthur: Raptors melt away in Game 4 blowout loss to Cavs

  Bruce Arthur: Raptors melt away in Game 4 blowout loss to Cavs CLEVELAND—By the end the Toronto Raptors had become a punchline. On the flagship ESPN show Pardon The Interruption, Tony Kornheiser called them the Washington Generals. On ESPN’s nationally broadcast Dan Le Batard radio show, as the Raptors faced elimination at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James in Game 4 Monday night, Le Batard and his crew were having a ball.“How embarrassing is it, though? You change everything about yourselves to beat this one person, and he’s howling with laughter at you, shooting basketballs out his butt into the basket?” said Le Batard. They cackled at Drake being chirped by LeBron’s eldest son on Instagram.

www.thestar.com/authors. arthur _ bruce .html. Send pitch. Add to media list. Report a problem on this page. So, what do the Boston Celtics have that the Toronto Raptors didn’t against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Bruce Arthur : Celtics ’ gains adds to Raptors ’ pains So, what do the Boston Raptors HQ, a Toronto Raptors community. Your best source for quality Toronto Raptors news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.

Meanwhile, Boston was making them look bad. Going into the second round the Raptors knew LeBron was tired; they knew they had to cut off his teammates. They knew they had to be aggressive and physical, as Indiana had — to play, as many in the organization agreed, “f--- you basketball.” None of this was a secret.

And they blew it. They blew it in Game 1, letting the Cavaliers play free and easy after a hot Toronto start. They blew it by missing their final 11 shots from the field in regulation, missing 19 of 24 in the fourth quarter, choking. Real toughness isn’t fighting; it’s competing with poise in every facet, under pressure or not. Toronto wasn’t competitively tough enough. And from that moment the Cavaliers were a flame that had been given all the oxygen it could inhale.

Boston, though, have snuffed out the flame. When LeBron tortured the Raptors in Game 2, splashing unnecessary fadeaway after unnecessary fadeaway, he finished with 43 points on 28 shots, plus 14 assists and eight rebounds. The Cavs won by 18. In Game 2 against Boston, LeBron finished with 42 points on 29 shots, plus 12 assists and 10 rebounds. The Cavs lost 107-94. One elite, top-ranked defence held up. Toronto’s, ranked fifth in the regular season, collapsed.

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Celtics ’ gains adds to Raptors ’ pains . So, what do the Boston Celtics have that the Toronto Raptors didn’t against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers? The fight to be taken seriously could have ended here, Bruce Arthur writes.

So what does this series, only two games in, teach us about the Raptors?

Witness the differences against the Celtics. Instead of a Valanciunas-killer, Jeff Green is every guy who looks great in warmups and is an absolute dog during the games. Instead of being a glue guy, George Hill is an afterthought. Instead of being a space-creating killer, Kyle Korver is being hunted. And instead of being a cocky shot-maker, J.R. Smith is back to being the soup-throwing goofball about whom, as he and ex-Raptor James Johnson chatted during a warmup before a playoff game two years ago, a sharp league observer wondered, “are they comparing how much money they’ve left on the table during their careers?”

There are personnel differences, of course. Boston’s young wings, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, are who OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam have to hope they become. Boston doesn’t have a DeMar DeRozan to hide on defence, but has guards Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier growling away. Instead of a creaking Serge Ibaka as a Kevin Love-guarding, switching power forward, Boston has Al Horford, who does it all with ease.

NBA community reacts to Raptors firing Dwane Casey

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Zach talks to ESPN's Chris Forsberg and Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star about the Celtics , Raptors , Cavs, East playoff matchups, Coach of the Year, and much more. Sign In to Add to Playlist. Hour 4: Two-Minute Report.

But more, the Celtics have been smarter and tougher, and have won close games all the way along. The defining characteristic of these Celtics might be that nobody is afraid.

They still went seven against pedestrian Milwaukee, so maybe it’s not that simple. Dwane Casey was and is a deeply admirable man whose love of this city’s best qualities was beautiful, and who commanded the big strokes of the job in his peerless Raptors coaching career. But Boston’s Brad Stevens is making every other coach in basketball look bad, with his players publicly proclaiming his genius every second game.

So can a new Raptors coach make players tough? Or challenge DeRozan’s defence more than Casey did? Or evoke in the Raptors what Brown said of Smart: “He was born with his hands dirty”? OG is tough. Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry are different kinds of tough. There are a few others.

What’s clear is the gap between Toronto and the next level up exists, and it could grow. Outside of their four-game sweep of Toronto, the Cavaliers have lost five of nine and have been outscored by 78 points. The Raptors are out of the playoffs, but the losing has yet to end.

Celtics beat Cavs 96-83 in Game 5, lead East finals 3-2 .
Celtics beat Cavs 96-83 in Game 5, lead East finals 3-2BOSTON - Rookie Jayson Tatum had 24 points and Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds to help the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 on Wednesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

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