Raptors 111, Celtics 91: Toronto pulls within one game of first

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 6: Jonas Valanciunas
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 6: Jonas Valanciunas /

In their biggest game of the season-to-date, the Toronto Raptors played their best. The Raptors dominated the Boston Celtics and now sit just one game back in the standings.

The first time the Toronto Raptors played the Boston Celtics the two teams battled in an exciting back-and-forth battle that came down to the final possession. Tuesday’s contest was not nearly as exciting for the casual basketball fan. Raptors fans, now that’s another story.

The game started off well for Toronto. The Raptors led most of the first quarter, held Boston to just eighteen points, and took a four-point lead into the second quarter.

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Then the Toronto bench took control. At the mid-way point in the second quarter, the Raptors increased their lead from 5-to-18 after a 13-0 run. The run was book-ended by two Delon Wright baskets, who was spectacular all night, scoring 14 points while also applying relentless defense.

Leading by 21 at the half, it would have been easy for the Raptors to come out flat in the second half. They did the opposite. Toronto’s starters built on what the bench had established, at one point increasing the lead to 27.

By the time the fourth started, the game was essentially over. The Raptors starters didn’t play a single minute during the fourth quarter, and the closest the game ever reached was the final score.

For the Raptors, their efficiency shooting the ball was a huge determinant in the final outcome. Toronto out shot Boston from the field, from three-point territory, and from the free-throw line. The team’s final three-point percentage was an impressive 47.2-percent, due in large part to the shooting efforts of Kyle Lowry and CJ Miles, who were a combined 11-of-18 on the night.

Another impressive part of Toronto’s victory was the team effort in production. All 12 active players scored and 10 played 15 minutes or more. As the season continues to wear down opponent’s rosters, Toronto is able to stay fresh by constantly rotating bodies.

Individually, CJ Miles was the player of the night. Miles scored 20 points in just 15 minutes and was an impressive 5-of-7 from deep. Since coming to the Raptors, Miles shooting has been a slight disappointment. As he continues to find his role in the Toronto’s offense, the Raptors are hoping his numbers will look more consistent with tonight’s production.

During an 82-game schedule some games are more important than others. Tonight’s win against the Celtics was valuable for both the team’s confidence and in the Eastern Conference standings. Still, the Raptors will need to continue to improve and evolve if they wish to continue to keep pace with the Celtics moving forward.

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The Raptors play next against the New York Knicks at home 7:30 PM ET.