Raptors Show Glimpse of What Their Ceiling May be in Rout of Celtics
If Tuesday night was an indication of what the ceiling of this team may be, then Raptors fans have to be excited. With a 118-95 victory, the Raptors evened the season series with the Celtics and kept pace with the first-place Bucks.
I am of the belief that actually winning every game isn’t as important at this stage, as it is for the Raptors to integrate their new pieces and figure out rotations heading into the playoffs. That’s why last night was so encouraging; among other things, we got a glimpse of what the newly assembled bench unit may look like, and how Jeremy Lin and Marc Gasol fit with the starters.
“I’m new here, so I have no idea what the ceiling can be,” said Lin. “I’m looking around and I’m amazed by the talent that there is. People aren’t even talking about Pascal…because you’re so worried about Kyle and Kawhi and others. I don’t know what the ceiling is but I know there’s more. Me, Marc, some new guys, we’re not even comfortable. Me and Marc were just talking about it, it’s going to come. We just need to keep chipping away at it.”
For as lackluster as Boston looked, the Raptors held them to 30 percent shooting from the floor, and 6 from 30 from three-point range. The second quarter was particularly impressive, as it was mainly the Raptors bench unit that blitzed the Celtics, going on a 29-7 run, holding them to 13 points in the whole quarter.
Coach Nick Nurse was satisfied with the defense, “that was as well as we’ve helped each other in a long time,” he said. “Maybe not all year, but in a long time. It was early help, it was often. It wasn’t perfect, but it was hustle.”
All in all, it was a great team effort by the Raptors. Pascal Siakam was, once again, spectacular finishing with 25 points and 8 rebounds, and tied his career high with four three-pointers. Kyle Lowry shot poorly but facilitated well, finishing with 11 assists. Outside of that, the Raptors got good balanced contributions off the bench from Lin, Gasol, Powell and McCaw.
Following the win, Kawhi said it was a great win but reiterated that “it’s all about us, what do we need to do to get better as a team, what focus we need to have, executing, knowing our matchups and playing together.”
With last night’s win, the Raptors finished February with an 8-1 record and are now 45-17, good enough for the second best record in the NBA.They will be back in action on Friday at home, against the Portland Trail-Blazers.