The Boston Celtics suffered their first loss of the preseason Friday night, falling to the Toronto Raptors in a 116-119 barnburner at the Air Canada Centre.
Let’s take a look at a few notes and nuggets from the game:
— The Celtics poured in 35 points in the second quarter — including 17 from Avery Bradley — their highest single-quarter output of the preseason. Well, their highest up until that point. They went on to score 37 in the third.
— The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Toronto. The Raptors outscored the Celtics 29-16 over the final 12 minutes to turn what was a close ballgame into an easy win. Boston’s hot shooters crashed back to earth in that final frame, going 4-for-16 from the floor.
“When you have guys that are competitive, sometimes they try to do too much and it snowballs,” head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game, via ESPN.com. “That’s what happened. … We talked about being able to respond in any situation, so that was something new for this team. Hopefully, we have that again, as far as having to respond again in the preseason.”
— Bradley finally found his shooting touch for the Celtics, finishing with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He was especially deadly from long range, sinking four of five 3-point attempts, including threes on three consecutive possessions in the second quarter.
Bradley did not play in the fourth quarter and was seen on the sideline with an ice pack on his ankle, but Stevens said after the game that he was just giving his guard some rest.
— Marcus Thornton’s role on this Celtics team is to score in bunches off the bench, and that’s exactly what he’s done this preseason. Thornton scored 19 points in 22 minutes Friday — his highest scoring output of the season. It was more than a chuck-and-pray performance, too. The guard went 7-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-6 from 3-point range after nailing just one of four shots from deep Wednesday night.
— Someone who did not have as much success from behind the arc was Marcus Smart, who hit on just one of his seven 3-pointers. The rookie also had trouble defending Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, one of the NBA’s most underrated point guards. Lowry finished tied for the team high with 18 points (6-of-12 shooting) and added six assists and five steals. Smart did show flashes, though, laying out for a loose ball in the fourth quarter and handing out a career-high seven assists.
— Speaking of assists, Jared Sullinger (seven) and Brandon Bass (five) both surpassed their respective single-game career highs for helpers.
— Stevens said before the game that Rajon Rondo returned to practice in a limited capacity this week but still has not been cleared for contact. That won’t happen for at least another 10 days. The team predicted Rondo would miss six to eight weeks after breaking his hand and undergoing surgery Sept. 26.
— The Celtics will be back to work Saturday night, when they take on the New York Knicks at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasvile, Conn.
Photo via Chris Young/Associated Press