With Rod Black in Quebec to call the action at the Vanier Cup on Saturday, I was called in to host Friday night's broadcast of the game between the Raptors and Celtics. Here is my blog from the contest!
7:40 - Leo is also "half-watching" the Syracuse game.... Surprise! Surprise! He's excited because his son, Andy, just got a steal and an assist.
7:41 - Jay Triano's 82nd game as head coach of the Raps. Only Lenny Wilkins had a better record after 82 games as a Raptors head coach. Having said that, Triano's record is 32-49 so its all relative.
7:43 - Jose Calderon just drew a foul on Kevin Garnett. Those two do not like each other - stay tuned!
7:47 - Matt Devlin really is adjusting well to living in Canada. He threw out some serious stats about Anthony Calvillo's Grey Cup record in the pre-game.
7:50 - Chris Bosh with 6 points already.... He averaged just 16.5 points in 4 straight losses to Boston last season. Meanwhile Garnett with yet another uncontested back door cut. "No resistance" says Matt.
7:51 - Jack Armstrong tells you why you should keep watching: "If you like offense, there's a lot of it". Meanwhile if you like defence you should probably turn away.
7:53 - Time for another Leo Rautins travel tip:
Anytime you're in Boston make sure to eat at the 'Capital Grill' and shop for great clothes at 'Coppley Square'....
In Leo's words: "If you give me a bowl of Clam Chowder, I am a happy man" .... Leo says there's a great place at the Coppley Square Food Court called "Just Chowda" which not only serves great chowder but also delicious lobster rolls. Move over Anthony Bourdain, there's a new travelling foodie on the loose!
7:57 - Leo explains some of DeMar DeRozan's early season struggles: "He's having a hard time avoiding and fighting through screens."
7:58 - No weak side help on Kevin Garnett and The Big Ticket knocks down a jumper at the top of the key. Toronto's defense continues to be scored on at will.
8:03 - Here's the first of many promos for the Grey Cup on Sunday.... Not sure if any of you have heard but we have the Grey Cup on TSN this Sunday. That's this Sunday. The Grey Cup. On TSN.
8:07 - Raps down 33-27 after a quarter. Jack just said something about Boston shooting 83 percent.. The worst part is NO ONE would be surprised.
8:11 - Leo feels Jarrett Jack needs to simplify his game. Andrea Bargnani is really suffering defensively in this game and we are not at halftime.
8:12 - Rasheed already has a technical foul. Everything pretty much going according to plan so far.
8:16 - Leo answers the "Ultimate Access" question from Lyle: "with Marco Belinelli producing, do you see him in the starting lineup anytime soon?" Leo says no because they want to keep Derozan in the starting lineup. Leo feels Derozan's game fits in better with Toronto's other 4 starters.
8:19 - Rasheed hits a 3; he already has 12 off the bench. Belinelli knocks down a 3 of his own to tie things at 46.
8:22 - Jack points out that the Celts are backing off Bosh and letting him take shots.... Unfortunately for Doc Rivers, Bosh is hitting those shots. He now has 12 points.
8:23 - GM Bryan Colangelo answers Lyle's question about Belinelli becoming a starter... "Scoring punch off the bench is perhaps the best utilization of the player.... Either way its Jay's call" ....
"Appropriate" says Leo.
8:25 - Paul Pierce falls hard into the base of the backboard. I will assume they have a wheelchair ready at all times in Boston for situations like this.
8:29 - Matt Devlin just said 1946 was Leo's "rookie year" ... Leo says Matt should know because he did play-by-play for the game.
8:35 - Raps up 55-54 at halftime!
8:51 - Both teams are shooting over 66 percent. "That's amazing" says Leo.
8:53 - Bosh hits the 16 point mark a minute into the 3rd quarter. He averaged 16 in four losses to the Celts last year.
8:56 - Jack points out that Paul Pierce is yet to get to the free throw line this game. A rarity.
8:57 - Leo with a telling comment as Andrea continues to struggle defensively: "I feel Andrea is who he is" Translation: He may never be consistent.
9:00 - Leo: "You know what the turnaround is in the 3rd quarter? The Rondo steal. (Rondo stole the ball from Turkoglu and went in uncontested to start a 13-0 run for Boston) from that point their whole intensity changed. The Raptors haven't responded well to toughness this season. They're getting banged around and you have to respond to that" Raps are now down by 5.
9:02 - "Hello!" Says Jack as we get our first shot at the Celtics cheerleaders who are sporting the knee high socks look tonight. Good look. Its like all of Hefner's girlfriends are cheerleading right now.
9:05 - Now "The Truth" is getting to the line at will. Raps down 68-61.
Leo would like to see more of Bosh: "You want your franchise player to pull you out of situations like this"
9:06 - Somehow Matt Devlin knows that its a 658 km drive from Regina to Calgary! He is describing the fans of the Green Riders travelling to the Grey Cup game this Sunday. Look for Devlin on the CFL Panel next season.
9:16 - Nineteen Toronto turnovers leading to 20 Boston points.
9:17 - Matt: "a 21-4 run over the last 6:46"
9:19 - "Not a memorable 3rd quarter for the Toronto Raptors here" says Jack in the Armstrong in the understatement of the week. Toronto was up 55-54 after the half. They're down 87-72 after 3 quarters.
9:23 - WOW! What a start to the 4th quarter! Pierce dunks on Bosh who appears to be hurt. Jay Triano is furious on Paul Pierce who is called for a technical foul .... He knee'd Bosh right in the 'luggage' on the dunk!
Leo likes Jack's point: "Why is Jay Triano going after Paul Pierce? Why aren't the players going after Paul Pierce? The Celtics talk a lotta junk. You let teams do that to you? When are you going to stand up to that?"
Jack: "Plenty of time left here. What are you made of? Show it."
Its fun when Jack gets fired up.
9:28 - Hedo hits a 3 to cut the lead to 10! This is NOT over! This is fun!
9:30 - If anyone missed our "Fast Break" segment during the Halftime Show, you can now see it on the TSN Video Player.
9:31 - How does Jack know who The Dropkick Murphys are? Jack Armstrong is a real mystery. TSN needs to do a reality show on this guy.
9:36 - Jarret Jack is playing well down the stretch. Does Leo like Jack and Jose on the floor at the same time?
"They don't have a choice."
9:39 - Leo is busy on the phone with his son Andy talking about Syracuse's big win tonight. Meanwhile, my Producer Mark Blimke thinks Florida's new 3rd uniforms are "the worst in the league." I think they're nice but they're a total ripoff of Pittsburgh's 3rds.... A total ripoff. Its not worth getting too excited about since that franchise will probably move to Quebec City in three years and then they can don some "Fleurs de Lis" and look like a proper team.
9:44 - We just had our 36th promo for this Sunday's Grey Cup. Just a reminder: The Grey Cup is this Sunday on TSN. One more reminder: The Grey Cup. TSN. This Sunday.
9:45 - Raps down 110-95 with 2:36 left. This IS over. This is not fun.
9:46 - Leo's assessment of the game: "You've got to match toughness with toughness... And if your shot is falling, you can't let it affect your defense."
Leo also points out that Jarret Jack put up a lot of his 18 points when it didn't count. "Who is the guy who is going to score in the 3rd quarter when it matters?"