The Toronto Raptors battled back from a hefty deficit to take the lead in Boston. However, a late Celtics run and poor clutch shooting proved too much to overcome.
At first, it was all Toronto Raptors. On the road, Toronto jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first few minutes. The Raptors played with an intense offensive pace, with everyone getting involved early on.
Boston quickly responded. The Celtics took the lead right back from Toronto, outscoring the Raptors 67-40 during a stretch from midway through the first quarter to midway through the third. At that point, the Celtics took a 16-point lead.
Then, the Raptors made a run of their own. Great play from Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka helped Toronto take control, and with under four minutes remaining, they were up four. Sadly, it was at that point the Raptors erratic offense went off the rails, and the Celtics — Kyrie Irving specifically — couldn’t miss. When the final buzzer sounded, the Celtics had prevailed by a 117-108 count.
This defeat was aggravating on many levels. The Raptors continue to struggle with three-point shooting, finishing a miserable 7-29, or 24.1-percent. Boston had no such issue, hitting 14 of their 30 attempts. Many of Toronto’s misses were open looks, which are hard to come by against Boston, a top-rank defensive team.
Poor offensive execution, poor shot-making, and the inability to stop Boston’s best offensive player down the stretch cost Toronto this game. It’s 1 of 82 and a close road loss to one of the premier teams of the Eastern Conference is far from an embarrassing defeat. Still, it’s hard to not feel like the Raptors left some opportunities on the table.
How did the players perform? Let’s get to the grades, shall we?