1. GIVE & GO LEFT CELTICS UNABLE TO GIVE FOUL
After Glen Davis made a pair of free throws to give Boston a 101-98 edge with 21.3 seconds remaining, the Raptors ran a simple, but perfect inbound play. Not only did Toronto avoid the "need to get a 3-pointer" syndrome that many young teams develop, it ran a textbook give-and-go that prevented the Celtics from utilizing the foul they had to give in fear of giving the Raptors a potential three-point play.
2. NOTHING FREE, DESPITE TORONTO'S NEED TO FOUL
On the ensuing inbound, Pierce is able to get the ball to Ray Allen, exactly who Boston wants to end up with the ball in a situation where the opposition must foul. The thing is, Leandro Barbosa wisely doesn't just bearhug Allen on the baseline, like many would do given the lack of time on the clock. Instead, he applies pressure and makes Allen dribble, likely hoping he'll give the ball up, which would allow the Raptors to foul someone who doesn't shoot 90 percent at the stripe. But fearless to foul because it has to come sooner than later, Barbosa takes a chance by reaching around Allen's back to attempt a strip and -- while you can certainly argue he committed a foul in the process -- Barbosa produces the turnover. Thanks to an offensive rebound on the Raptors' final possession -- Amir Johnson ends up at the charity stripe for the go-ahead freebies.
3. SOLID DEFENSE ON BOSTON'S FINAL GASP SEALS THE WIN
OK, so even struggling teams know that the ball is likely going to end up in Paul Pierce's hands when Boston has a final-shot opportunity. That doesn't make defending it any easier (particularly when the clock is low enough to prevent the obvious isolation situation).
Celtics fans can blame second-quarter defensive lapses, particularly by the bench, or blame statistical anomalies (Shaq finished 2-of-8 shooting from the floor ... but made all four free throws he attempted). But they should also give Toronto credit for its late-game play.
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