Toronto Raptors Come Up Flat as Celtics Take Game 1 in Blow Out
The Boston Celtics made quick work of the Toronto Raptors, defeating them 112-94. The Celtics jumped out to a quick lead, starting the game on a five-nothing run which helped pace their lead to 39-23 after the first quarter ended. Boston’s starters ended the game with 90-points and they were led by Jayson Tatum, who had 21 points.
Toronto was sluggish out the gate, and could never recover from the early deficit. Pascal Siakam battled foul trouble and poor shooting early on, which kept the Cameroonian from establishing a rhythm. The Raptors shot 36% on the afternoon, hitting on 25% of their three-point attempts. Kyle Lowry, who’s status has been questionable since last week due to an ankle injury was available and played 35 minutes en route to 17 points. The Raptor starting five managed to put up 60 points.
Keys to the Game One Victory
Before the start of the series, I predicted that X-factors for both teams would be the role players (namely O.G. Anunoby, Marc Gasol, and Marcus Smart) from both teams. Marcus Smart had a terrific game scoring 21 points, and he caught fire from deep. When Smart is connecting on five of nine three-point attempts, the Celtics are a difficult team to beat.
Marc Gasol and O.G. Anunoby scored 19 points combined. Not all of the blame can go on those two players alone though, as the Raptors in general looked uncharacteristically bad during this game. Siakam had a couple open threes that didn’t hit the mark. Fred VanVleet saw increased defensive attention after a stellar first round and scored 11. The Raptor defence was slow on the perimeter and was often beat off the dribble. It felt as if the Raptors lacked effort and pop in their play from the first to the fourth quarter.
No Cause to panic, yet
The Raptors are still very much in this series, as Nick Nurse will surely make some adjustments based off of his team’s performance in game one. It would be interesting to try running the screen and roll a little more with Siakam as the ball handler or screener to see if it will get him going.
Would also like to see the Raptors run more pin-down action in an attempt to get shooters like Norman Powell, VanVleet, and Lowry open shots in rhythm. There are no alarming stats or trends in this game besides field-goal percentage and field-goal defence that suggest the Raptors are in trouble.
Sometimes the game is as simple as putting the ball in the basket, and simply put the Raptors didn’t do a good job of doing so. They also lacked effort on the defensive end, which allowed the Celtic offence to get going early on. Look for the Raptors to respond in game two with a greater urgency on both ends.
Up next, the Raptors take on the Celtics in game two, on Tuesday.