Boston Celtics fans are hoping their team can make Jonas Valanciunas eat his words.
The Raptors center declared the Celtics also-rans in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night after Toronto’s 114-106 win over Boston at Air Canada Centre.
Valanciunas told reporters the Celtics are “racing for second place,” while “we are racing for first.”
Valanciunas made his proclamation following one of his most productive outings on an NBA court. He scored 18 points, grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds and blocked two shots. Obviously, he was feeling good afterward.
Tuesday’s loss will sting the Celtics, who let a 16-point lead with 17 minutes remaining slip and missed a chance to pull level with Toronto in the standings. Boston (23-15) now is in third place in the Eastern Conference and second in the Atlantic Division, trailing Toronto (25-13) by just two games.
The Celtics are five and a half games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (28-9), while Toronto trails the East’s top seed by three and a half games.
The Celtics have lost each of their four games against Toronto and Cleveland in 2016-17, but the season hasn’t even reached the midway point. Plenty of time remains for the Celtics to make Valanciunas regret what he said.
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images