This was not the Raptors evening. Going into this match up the Celtics had lost 9 straight games, and were looking to find a spark being on their home court in front of their home fans. They managed to do just that, by being tenacious on the glass, getting a huge game from Jared Sullinger, and holding off a late rally by Toronto. The Boston Celtics were the victors in this game, holding on for an 88-83 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Early on the Raptors were clicking offensively, sharing the ball, and the ball movement amongst the team looked nice. It was a tight game after the 1st quarter and looked like it would be a competitive game that Toronto was definitely going to have to earn. Toronto held a 25-23 lead going into the 2nd quarter.
After that, however, the Raptors seemed to be pressing too hard offensively and were out of rhythm.
Jared Sullinger was a 'one man wrecking crew' all evening for the Boston Celtics. He was active and tenacious on both ends of the floor, and after 3 quarters he already had 20 points and 17 rebounds! He ended the game with 25 points and 20 rebounds. 8 of his rebounds came on the offensive end, really contributing to Boston's 2nd chance point effort in the game. Avery Bradley scored 20 points for Boston, and added 5 rebounds, but even Avery's 20 points came on shooting just 8 of 21 from the floor.
Despite the Raptors relative inabaility to score, Kyle Lowry had a near triple double, putting up 18 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds on the night. DeMar DeRozan lead the Raptors with 23 points, and grabbing 8 rebounds. John Salmons came into the game and provided 13 points, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and added a couple of steals. Steve Novak also came off the bench and provided some clutch 3-point shots as the Raptors rallyed in the 4th quarter to get back in the game, but the Raptors seemingly dug themselves to much of a hole early on.
The Boston Celtics provided the Toronto Raptors with every opportunity to completely get back into the game in the 4th quarter or even take the lead, but the Raptors shooting woes from the free throw line continued and they were unable to secure rebounds when they seemed to matter most. The Raptors outscored the Celtics 27-15 in the 4th quarter, but after having only scored 31 points in the previous 2 quarters combined, it proved to be too little too late for Toronto.
As a team, Boston outrebounded Toronto 58-44, and the Raptors had their worst night from the free throw line in a VERY long time, shooting only 48% from the free throw line, making only 12 of their 25 attempts on the night. The Raptors are an 80% free throw shooting team on the season. Neither the Raptors or the Celtics shot well from the field, shooting a paltry 38% and 34% respectively, but the rebounding and free throws were the difference.
Up next for the Toronto Raptors, the Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Toronto for a Friday night game at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors will be looking to shake off the loss to the Celtics and get back on track against the Timberwolves.
(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)