Toronto Raptors Roundup: Another beatdown of the Celtics

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went 2-1 this week winning a couple of games against formidable foes in Boson and Portland. Unfortunately, another tough loss against Detroit prevented a perfect week.

The Toronto Raptors did their best Jekyll and Hyde impression this week with big performances in key games and a not so big performance against an easier opponent.

At their best, they took down a division rival with such ease, that it had many questioning whether the Boston Celtics belong in the “Best in the East” conversation. The Celtics, who have been in a nose dive for much of the season, could not match the intensity the Raptors played with and dropped their third in a row, and fifth in seven.

The Raptors also looked strong against a streaking Portland Trailblazers squad who came into the game winners of five in a row. The Raptors managed to hold on to a lead for most of the game, despite a couple of big runs from Portland. A clutch Kawhi Leonard corner shot with less than two seconds left secured the victory.

At their worst they lost a game they could have won. They dropped a tough one Sunday afternoon against Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons in what may be a preview of a first round match-up for both teams. The Raptors came out flat, shooting only 38 percent from the field. Kyle Lowry had another strong game scoring a season-high 35 points, adding five assists. Without Leonard, the Raptors couldn’t find that second threat. Siakam was an inefficient 10 for 20 from the field while Jeremy Lin, Serge Ibaka, and Danny Green combined for 12 points.

The overtime loss was the second close game the Raps have dropped against their former coach this season. The Raptors finished the week in second place with a 46-18 record, now two and a half games behind the Milwaukee Bucks.

Game Recap

Boston at Toronto

This one didn’t turn out to be the game many thought it would be, did it?.

The Toronto Raptors absolutely crushed their division rivals the Boston Celtics 118-95 on Tuesday night following their disappointing loss to Orlando. Toronto looked sharp across the board, hitting nearly 50 percent of their shots from the field and from deep while taking care of the ball, turning it over only eight times.

The Celtics looked dysfunctional at best shooting 38 percent from the field and only 20 percent from deep. Raptor killer Kyrie Irving did not play well scoring only seven points hitting three of ten from the field. The Celtics now have less than a quarter of the season to figure out how to solve their chemistry issues before the second season begins. The Raptors won’t be wishing them any luck.

Portland at Toronto

The Raptors pulled out an exciting 119-117  victory against a scrappy Portland Trailblazers team on Friday night. Toronto seemed to be in control for most of the game, up 93-84 to begin the fourth but nine straight misses by the Raptors helped the Trailblazers get the game back to one point.

The Raptors needed incredible performances from a few Raptors to come away with the win. Kawhi Leonard scored 38 points including this go-ahead basket with three seconds remaining.

The Raptors also got strong performances from Marc Gasol who scored 19 points, six assists and eight rebounds while Kyle Lowry managed to rack up 19 points 10 assists and seven rebounds.

The team as a whole shot the ball extremely well shooting 56 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep.

Toronto at Detroit

The Raptors made the short trip west to Detroit along with a few busloads of Raptor fans. The Raptor support was apparent from the get-go matching the Detroit fans blow for blow.

Unfortunately, the Raptors didn’t come out with as much energy and it was apparent the game would not turn out the way the traveling fans would have liked. Dwane Casey and the Pistons won their second game this season against the Raptors 112-107 with the overtime win that pushed the Pistons into the sixth spot in the East.

The Raptors, missing Leonard for the second time this week (load management), came out flat missing a mess of shots they normally make. Kyle Lowry scored a season-high 35 points while Pascal Siakam had 21 points. Siakam battled foul trouble for much of the second half, as did Marc Gasol.

The Pistons were led by Blake Griffin who dropped 27 points and Reggie Jackson who scored 19 points. Andre Drummond added 15 points and 17 rebounds.

The Week Ahead

Houston at Toronto

MVP candidate James Harden has his Houston Rockets on track for the final stretch of the season. Harden recently dropped 58 against the Miami Heat and recorded his seventh career game with 50 points and 10 assists — that’s more than double any other player in NBA history. The Raptors will need to contain Harden if they hope to even the season series at one.

Toronto at New Orleans

Despite the Anthony Davis drama that envelops the team, the season moves on for the New Orleans Pelicans as the Raptors visit on Friday. The Pelicans, 3-3 since the All-Star break and 29-36 overall, have been limiting Davis’s minutes as they try to limit the risk of any potential injury for the rest of the season.

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Toronto at Miami

The Raptors will travel to Florida next Sunday to play against Miami. The Heat, who have been struggling of late, losing seven of their last ten, sit a game and a half back of the Orlando Magic for the eight and final playoff spot. With the Magic and the Detroit Pistons playing pretty good basketball lately, and Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets one spot above them, time may be running out on Heat and career of Hall of Fame career of Dwyane Wade.