The Boston Celtics made a superb start of their Eastern Conference semifinals, by defeating the Toronto Raptors, 112-94. Celtics were better in all aspects of the opening game of the series, but predominantly in the defense.
They would hold the Raptors to just 36.9% of shooting from the field, and 25% from downtown. The champions managed to score more than 23 points in the quarter once, and were inferior on the glass. Overall, the Celtics played one heck of a game, and even though many expected them to be good, just a few saw them beating the Raptors routinely like this.
“Both teams played really hard. We were fortunate a few more shots than them,” said Brad Stevens who wasn’t very happy with the way his team executed possessions. “We didn’t play great offense.”
Still, a strong start of the game was what separated the Celtics from the champs in this match. They won the first quarter with 39-23, drilling six threes in nine attempts, and forcing six turnovers from the rivals. Once creating this advantage, the Celtics never looked back and they pretty much routinely kept the situation under control.
It was one of few times this year that we saw the Raptors without any solution on how to get out of the hole. They were frustrated, pale in the attack, even worse in the defense, and above all, weak.
Kyle Lowry was their best scorer with 17 points, but with 5-for-12 from the field and five turnovers. Lowry added eight assists and six rebounds to that.
“I just think we didn’t play well enough to win the basketball game. No excuses made. We’ve gotta play harder and execute better… Yeah, it was emotional, but no excuses, the Boston Celtics beat us,” he said following the game.
The next best thing was Serge Ibaka with 15 buckets and nine boards. OG Anunoby had 12 and seven boards, while Norman Powell scored 10.
Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam were below any decent level of play for their standards. FVV had 11 points, hitting three shots in 11 tries, and two threes in 11 attempts. He did have 6 steals and 8 assists, but without any impact on the offensive side of the court. Siakam was 5-for-16 for two, with 13 points and three assists.
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart both had 21 points each, and were leading the Celtics with points. Tatum added nine rebounds, while Smart had six, with four assists.
Jaylen Brown was right behind with 17 buckets and five boards, and four assists, but the guy who needs to be credited the most for tonight’s contribution is Daniel Theis. The German center scored 13 points but added 15 rebounds in 25 minutes. His defense and hard work under the rim were something that definitely stopped the Raptors.
Kemba Walker scored 18 points and delivered 10 assists drilling four threes. The Celtics had 17 of those in 39 attempts, which is 43.6%.
It seems that the Celtics were much more focused on the game and that they managed to recover better from all the turmoils that happened in the last few days. Toronto was slow and without creation, and in certain moments the will for playing, and if they want to eliminate the franchise from Boston, they would need to change many things in their approach.
Game 2 is set for this Tuesday, and so far, there aren’t any pieces of information about new injuries following tonight’s clash.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.