The Boston Celtics closed the third quarter on a 36-12 run en route to a dominant 122-100 win over the Toronto Raptors at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, on Friday.
The Raps, who entered the evening 3-0 since the NBA’s restart, shot 10-of-38 from three-point range. They scored just 14 first-quarter points and trailed 52-37 at halftime.
The 49-19 Raps stayed in second in the Eastern Conference despite the loss. The 46-23 Celtics, who moved to 3-2 during the restart, are in third.
Celtics F Jayson Tatum: 18 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST
Celtics G/F Jaylen Brown: 20 PTS, 6 REB
Celtics G Kemba Walker: 17 PTS, 4 AST
Raptors G Fred VanVleet: 13 PTS, 4 AST, 4 REB
Raptors G Kyle Lowry: 11 PTS, 3 STL
Raptors F Pascal Siakam: 11 PTS
Boston Celtics Put on a Clinic in Easy Win
The Celtics couldn’t have played better basketball in the first 36 minutes. They outclassed the Raptors, who looked like the best team in the bubble leading into Friday (with apologies to the 4-0 Phoenix Suns). Boston even led by 34 entering the fourth quarter.
Hustle, deft offensive rebounding, crisp passing and smooth outside shooting led to this Jaylen Brown long-range bucket:
Marcus Smart came off a screen and roll to find big man Robert Williams, who is making a great case to make the playoff rotation, for an easy deuce:
If Williams continues to exhibit great chemistry with Smart, it will be hard for the C’s to keep him on the bench:
Kemba Walker, who is slowly working his way back from knee ailments, showcased the confidence, energy and hot outside shooting that have made him a four-time All-Star:
The problem for opposing teams is that the rest of the players in the lineup, led by the steadily improving and burgeoning superstar Jayson Tatum, are such threats that Walker can be left with enough room for quick-shooting buckets, like this three:
Speaking of Tatum, he continued to do his thing, which is destroy opposing defenses everywhere on the court:
Ultimately, sometimes everything goes a team’s way, and fallaway three-pointers at the buzzer find their path into the hoop:
The C’s aren’t going to have A-plus performances like this every night, but at their best, they’re capable of making the fourth quarter moot en route to blowout.
Poor Shooting Dooms Raptors in Lone Restart Blemish
It’s not difficult to take a silver lining away from an ugly loss.
Sure, the Raptors lost to the C’s for the third time this season, and they may face them in the second round of the playoffs. And yes, they couldn’t buy a bucket at times.
But Boston didn’t win because Toronto quit or played at half-speed. Ultimately, Toronto just had a miserable shooting night, with the starters combining to go 16-of-45 from the field (Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet went 9-of-29 together).
Credit goes to the Celtics for taking advantage of that slump and running away with this one, but none of the Raps scored more than 13 points or made more than five field goals. That’s a significant anomaly for a great team.
New York Times best-selling author Shea Serrano was impressed with the team’s resolve even after its 1-of-10 shooting start:
It only got worse from there, as the Raptors dug themselves a hole that they had no chance of emerging from before the fourth quarter, but there’s no reason to think any less of the defending champions. Every team has bad games in which nothing goes their way, and it was the Raptors’ turn this time.
Both teams play next on Sunday.
The C’s will face the Orlando Magic on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. The Raps will battle the Memphis Grizzlies at 2 p.m.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report