The Toronto Raptors went into Boston Wednesday night to take on the Celtics. The Raptors entered the game on a three-game winning streak and had won eight of their last 10. The Celtics had dropped nine in a row and looked to be well on their way to the bottom of the standings. However, all those numbers meant nothing last night.
The Raptors had one of their worst offensive performances of the year Wednesday night. They struggled to hit open shots, missed an unacceptable amount of free throws and were dominated on the glass, but that didn't stop them from fighting for a win.
The game featured several lead changes in the first half, but the Celtics started to pull away in the third. The Celtics pushed their lead to 18 with just under 12 minutes to play. It looked like a lost game for the Raptors, but they didn't see it that way. They still believed they could come back. By the strong effort of their defense and ball movement on offense, the Raptors slowly trimmed the deficit. They went on a 16-2 run late in the fourth, trimming the deficit to three. It seemed as if the Raptors had all the momentum and were going to regain the lead, but Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey called a timeout which benefited the Celtics. The Celtics would add to their lead and hold on to the 88-83 victory.
Despite the Celtics losing nine straight games and being down a few players due to making a trade earlier in the day, they didn't let that stop them from defeating their division rival. The Raptors continue to struggle in Boston as they haven't won there in six years. The Celtics move to 14-26 on the season, while the Raptors fall to 19-18. The Raptors still hold a four game lead in the Atlantic Division over the Brooklyn Nets.
As disappointing a loss this is for the Raptors, they showed great fight in trying to come back and win that game. They had been playing exceptional over the last month and every now and then they are going to be nights where nothing goes right. You can't win them all. The main thing going forward for the Raptors will be how they respond to this loss. They have an easy stretch of games coming up and need to take advantage of them.
Points By Quarter
Here are some notes from the game:
- Jared Sullinger proved to be too much to handle for the Raptors. Sullinger was a force on the glass and it seemed like the ball just found him wherever he was. He also stretched the floor and made his baskets count from the free throw line. Sullinger finished the game with 25 points and 20 rebounds. He was 7-14 from the field and 10-14 from the free throw line. Eight of his rebounds came on the offensive glass. With this performance, he became the first Celtics player since Kevin Garnett in 2007 to post 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game.
- The Raptors went 12-25 from the free throw line. That's 48% and that's unacceptable. Considering they lost the game by only five, this is the biggest glaring stat and a big reason why they lost the game.
- DeMar DeRozan was the Raptors' leading scorer with 23 points and eight rebounds. DeRozan tried to do all he could to keep the Raptors in it and at times he tried to do too much. Late in the fourth, he took a few ill-advised shots and turned the ball over when the Raptors had a chance to tie the game.
- Kyle Lowry had 18 points and 12 assists for the Raptors, while John Salmons poured in 13 points off the bench. No other Raptor scored in double figures.
- Celtics point guard Phil Pressey got his first career start. Pressey was 0-5 with zero points on the night, but he did finish with 10 assists.
- Former-Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless had one point on 0-5 shooting.
- Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough missed his seventh straight game with an ankle injury.
NEXT GAME: Friday, January 17 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. 7 pm. ET start
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