The Toronto Raptors were handed their first loss of the season by the Boston Celtics. What did we learn from the game?
Basketball is well and truly underway in the NBA. The Toronto Raptors entered the season as champions and will remain as such until a time when someone dispatches them. They also looked like champions in their season-opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, overcoming the Pels 130-122 in overtime, sans Pascal Siakam, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
While that game proved to be a success, they would more likely be judged on Friday’s performance against the Boston Celtics. Brad Stevens’ team lost their season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers in a rather clunky affair and would be looking to rebound from that loss with a win at home.
The Celtics would be without Enes Kanter due to injury, so Daniel Theis would be promoted to starting duties. The Raptors, however, would be dealing with no new injuries and Fred VanVleet would be the starting shooting guard once again.
Unfortunately, for the Raptors, it would be their first defeat of the young season, in a back-and-forth and exciting game. Everything started a little slow in the first half, with both teams struggling to create offense on the regular, but the Raptors were playing into Brad Stevens’ hands and kept turning the ball over – totaling 23 turnovers for the game.
A recipe for success that is not. Still, the second half came around with an explosion for Kyle Lowry, and he had the Raptors first 11 points in the second half, and Pascal Siakam added a further 15 points in the third quarter. The Raptors, finally, were rolling.
But old habits do not die easily, and the Raptors continued to turn the ball over and struggled to protect the glass, giving up 21 offensive rebounds to the Celtics. Their 33-point third quarter had been canceled out by lackluster errors and miscommunications, and the Celtics scored 36 points in the fourth quarter, led by Kemba Walker, to put a dent in the Raptors season early on.
It’s only one game, but this loss was most certainly avoidable. It’s back to the drawing board for Nick Nurse, but what were our three takeaways from this game?