No Bayless for Raptors against Celtics tonight
Jerryd Bayless will not play for the Raptors on Friday night and this has the potential to be one of Toronto’s most difficult offensive nights of the season.
If not ever.
Robbed of one of their most accomplished scorers, the Raptors are going up against one of the toughest, most veteran defensive teams in the league in the Boston Celtics, a team that’s already held Toronto 73 and 64 points in two games this season.
It is a difficult task at the best of times and now without Bayless and Andrea Bargnani, still on the shelf with a strained left calf, it becomes exponentially harder.
For those keeping score at home, fewest points a Raptors team has ever scored in game is 56 at Minnesota in 2003. Just in case you were wondering.
And in saying that Bayless (sore left ankle) won’t be able to go tonight, coach Dwane Casey said he’d use Anthony Carter at the backup point guard because it’d “be unfair” to subject either Gary Forbes or Leandro Barbosa – neither of whom possess the greatest ball-handling skills – to the routine fullcourt pressure that Celtics guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley bring to bear.
The announcement won’t come until right at game time but look for the Raptors to start Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis and Aaron Gray. It’s a bigger lineup but one that’s offensively challenged.
“With our bigger group we match their size (but) at the same time we take a little bit of our offensive firepower off the floor,” Casey said after Friday morning’s shootaround. “But it’s also that they’re one of the top defensive teams. They still have (Kevin) Garnett and they’ve got Paul Pierce playing at a high level defensively, Ray Allen is playing a high level and Rondo is a one-man wrecking crew.”