1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam leads Raptors in win vs. Celtics

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors didn’t get the heavyweight confrontation against the Boston Celtics that many were looking forward to, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were ruled out before the game. Surely this made things easier for a Raptors team reintegrating Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. back into the lineup, right?

Wrong! Boston put up 38 points in the first quarter, as Marcus Smart and Sam Hauser just could not miss from deep. Toronto eventually rallied in the second quarter thanks to Siakam’s brilliance and took a one-point advantage into halftime before trading blows in a fairly even third quarter.

After taking the game to overtime thanks to some clutch shot-making on the part of both teams, Toronto ended up with a 115-112 victory. With both Siakam and Scottie Barnes fouling out, the Raptors needed every bit of their grit and determination to pull out the win.

While Toronto might be a bit disappointed that they went to the extra period against a team missing so many impact players, they showed enough hustle and clutch composure to take home the win.

18. 115. 81. Final/OT. 112

Pascal Siakam was flat-out dominant for the Toronto Raptors.

Was there any doubt? On a night where Toronto entered the fourth quarter with just one player in double figures, it became clear that Siakam was the only player who was really locked in on the offensive end. Siakam’s numbers in a game where he didn’t get much support from his teammates were very promising.

Siakam recorded 40 points on 17-29 shooting from the field. After finishing the first half with 25 of Toronto’s 59 points, it was clear that the only way they were going to hang around in this game tonight involved Siakam taking ownership of the paint on offense.

Siakam took advantage of a Celtics team that was lacking two of the best rim protectors in the game in the young Robert Williams and old Al Horford. Siakam’s case for making an All-NBA team gets stronger with each passing night given the gaudy statistical achievements he has piled up lately.

The Raptors need to take ownership of the fact that winning like this is simply not sustainable. They can’t be this poor from the 3-point line and expect to compete in the postseason. Even with that caveat, it was nice to see Pascal lay waste to the Celtics on defense.

Thad Young gets an honorable mention. What a night he had on both ends.

Fred VanVleet wasn’t super sharp for the Toronto Raptors.

Earlier in the season, VanVleet was so lethal that he could be counted on for at least 25 points a night while playing some spectacular on-ball defense. Over the last few weeks, it appears as though the insane minutes toll placed upon him earlier in the season is weighing heavily on his body and his performance.

With Armoni Brooks on the bench, VanVleet entered the fourth quarter with just two made shots from the field. and three turnovers. VanVleet, who finished with 14 points, hit some big shots late in the fourth quarter, but Toronto fell into a deep early hole because of Smart going right at him defensively.

While VanVleet is playing at much less than 100% over the last few weeks, his performances of late have been less than encouraging. VanVleet needs to get some rest before the playoffs, because Toronto’s chances of advancing with a beat-up All-Star appear to be slim.

dark. Next. 1 prospect from each Final Four team raptors could draft