Toronto Raptors: 3 takeaways after preseason loss to Celtics

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Toronto Raptors, Scottie Barnes

Oct 9, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) past Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors marched into TD Garden with the intent of showing up the rival Boston Celtics and taking home their second win in three preseason games. Thanks to a strong offensive performance early on, Jayson Tatum and the Cs were able to secure a very narrow 113-111 win.

While they did have to put up another tally in the loss column this preseason, the Raptors were able to bounce back from being down 15 at the end of the first quarter and take this game down to the final possession.

While the Raptors have now lost two straight games, they can at least take solace in the fact that they had some of their key players for 2021 strut their stuff in encouraging fashion. Even among all the positives, some players, unfortunately, stunk things up against Boston.

The Toronto Raptors should take away these three lessons from their defeat against Boston, as these trends could have a real impact on how they line up before the season opener in a little over a week from now.

3 Toronto Raptors takeaways after their preseason loss to Celtics.

3. Scottie Barnes is an above-average defender and passer already.

When the Raptors took Barnes, they likely expected that he wouldn’t be someone that takes over games on offense as a rookie. While he’s drawn praise for some impressive individual plays as a scorer, what he’s done as a passer and on-ball defender has been nothing short of remarkable.

Barnes recorded five rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks in this game. Barnes has had at least five assists in all of his preseason appearances, and the fact that he was able to give Jayson Tatum some real problems in isolation situations shows the type of potential he carries with him.

Scottie Barnes is making the Toronto Raptors thrilled that they picked him.

Tatum did cook the rookie a couple of times, and Barnes had the worst plus-minus of any Raptors player at -30, but he looked like an impact player on both ends, which is exactly what Toronto wanted to see from him at this stage of his development.

Barnes is raw as a shooter, but nearly every other aspect of his game looks like it will be at least average despite the fact he’s so young. It’s rare for a rookie to pass and defend with the degree of refinement Barnes has displayed, and that combination of skills is helping Raptors fans get a very intriguing glimpse into what the future looks like.

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