The Boston Celtics defeated the defending champion Toronto Raptors 112-106 for their first win of the year. The Celtics travel to New York tonight to take on the New York Knicks.
In a repeat of last game at Philadelphia, the Boston Celtics home opener against defending champion Toronto Raptors took place amidst a playoff atmosphere. Though free agency took a bite out of each team’s best player, respectfully, but you wouldn’t have noticed if you watched.
Pascal Siakam dominated very reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard. Siakam posted 33 points and 11 rebounds on 22 shot attempts, along with five made threes off of 7 attempts. He was an absolute terror. Whenever the Celtics appeared to be making a run, Siakam was there to nail a deep three and kill the momentum.
Veteran Kyle Lowry also was a handful; 29 points off of 18 shots, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Lowry appears freer after winning the world championship last season. His confidence is noticeable.
But it wasn’t enough. Boston’s team effort eked out a nail bitter, 112-106 thanks to the Boston Celtics getting hot in the fourth quarter after being down seven. On the offensive glass, the Celtics did not miss Enes Kanter (out with a knee contusion), as they out-rebounded Toronto 21-5. The Boston Celtics needed every one of those rebounds. Boston shot poor, 38.5 percent to Toronto’s 47.4 percent.
Rookie Grant Williams notched five offensive rebounds, and starting center Daniel Theis chipped in three, as did Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. When the ball wasn’t going in, it was their rebounding kept them within striking distance.
The Boston Celtics Big 4 flowed harmoniously. Sure, they’re still kinks that need to be worked out; neither of these guys has spent much time sharing a court. But they looked so much more in sync than they did against Philadelphia. Hayward, Tatum, Brown and Kemba combined for 32 for 76 shooting, for 87 points.
The Boston Celtics as a whole did very well forcing turnovers. Toronto threw the ball away 23 times. A lot of this is attributed to the Celtics hustle and grit that sorely lacked last year’s squad.
Walker struggled, but really found his footing in the fourth quarter, notching 11 points in the period to put the C’s over the top.
This was a much needed win for the Boston Celtics. They will not get much time to enjoy it. Tomorrow they head to the Big Apple to take on the 0-2 New York Knick and old friend Marcus Morris. With yesterday’s win, the Celtics improve to 1-1 on the year.