Celtics Wrap: Boston Impressive In Series-Opening Victory Over Raptors

The Celtics now hold a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals

by Dakota Randall

August 30, 2020

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Boston Celtics largely dominated the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

The Celtics pulled off a 112-94 win over the defending champions inside the Walt Disney World bubble to take a 1-0 edge in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart led the way for Boston, both scoring 21 points. Smart also knocked down five of nine 3-point attempts.

The Celtics also got strong contributions from Kemba Walker (18 points, 10 assists) and Jaylen Brown (17 points).

The Raptors, meanwhile, only received 13 points from Pascal Siakam, who made just five of 16 shots from the field. Kyle Lowry scored a quiet 17 points, while Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds.

Here’s how it all went down:

PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis

The first quarter got off to a sloppy start, with the two teams combining for seven fouls over the first two minutes. However, by the end of the frame, the Celtics held a 39-23 edge.

Smart led the way with 10 points, including 2-of-2 on 3-point shooting. As a team, the Celtics knocked down six shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter.

Walker and Brown also had strong first quarters, scoring seven and nine points, respectively. Daniel Theis contributed six rebounds.

Siakam picked up three fouls and only registered three points in the opening frame.

The second quarter was even uglier than the first.

Toronto began the frame strong, coupling strong defense with sloppy play from Boston to narrow the deficit to nine points. But the Celtics found their groove toward the end of the quarter, eventually entering the locker room with a 17-point advantage.

Walker closed the first half with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The Celtics got strong contributions across the lineup in the first half. Walker scored a team-high 12 points over the first two quarters, with Tatum, Brown and Smart also scoring in double-figures. Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker both scored four points, while Semi Ojeleye knocked down his only shot, a 3-pointer.

Theis needed just 12 first-half minutes to pull down a playoff career-high 11 rebounds.

As for the Raptors, Toronto was let down by its stars in the first half. Siakam and Fred VanVleet combined to go 2-of-14, including 0-for-7 from 3-point range. Lowry, perhaps hobbled by his sore ankle, scored only seven points and generally lacked his usual burst.

The Raptors as a team shot 29 percent from the field and 21 percent from long distance in the first half.

The Celtics and Raptors combined for 17 turnovers and 24 fouls.

For much of the third quarter, the Celtics looked as if they would run away in hide with the series opener. Boston at one point held a 22-point lead.

But the Raptors finished the quarter on a 10-4 run to make it an 88-73 game heading into the fourth quarter.

The game would’ve been even closer had Tatum not drained a fallaway jumper at the buzzer.

Williams was a surprise contributor in the third frame, providing solid defense, strong rebounding and even a little offense.

Lowry came alive in the third, scoring eight points for the defending champions.

The Raptors were not able to build off their hot finish to the third.

Toronto scored the first basket of the final frame, but the Celtics dominated from that point until the starters exited the game. Boston at one point let by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the day, the Celtics had too many ways to score and were too tough defensively.

The Raptors didn’t do themselves any favors, finishing the game with a 36.9 field goal percentage to go along with a 25 percent clip from long distance.

Boston, on the other hand, shot 47 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from 3-point range.

Tatum’s jumper to end the third helped slow some of Toronto’s momentum.

The Celtics and Raptors will meet Tuesday for Game 2 inside the bubble. Tip-off time has yet to be announced.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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