Rapid Recap is designed for the busiest of Celtics fans. Whether you can’t stay awake to read 10 paragraphs or your hangover is just too much, Rapid Recap tells the timeline of the game in only a minute or two.
The Toronto Raptors were hungry for get-back after their Christmas embarrassment at the hands of the Boston Celtics. They certainly got it tonight against a Cs squad that had played the previous night and clearly wasn’t prepared for a high-caliber opponent.
Kemba Walker did all he could offensively with 30-2-2-2. The Jays, so dominant yesterday, were OK at best today, with Brown racking up 17-5-1-3 and Tatum managing just 12-3-4-1, with a third of Brown’s points and half of Tatum’s coming at the charity stripe. On the other side, Kyle Lowry had 30 of his own, as he, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka led a crew largely composed of NBA That Guys to a dominant 113-97 win over our heroes.
Seeing as Boston was on the second night of a back to back, the slow start wasn’t a surprise as a rested Toronto squad led by the unkillable Kyle Lowry came out to an early lead in the quarter’s opening minutes.
Marcus Smart was back, which is good, but we had some referee hobnobbery after a dust-up between Lowry and Brown, which was bad.
Jokes/ref disses aside, the refs didn’t score Toronto’s points or miss Boston’s shots during that opening frame. (Also, Boston would ultimately have a major foul advantage, getting to the line plenty of times.)
Computer, deliver me Marcus Smart highlights:
In other words, Dangercart was right. SMARF, Gordon Hayward and Kanter normalized things offensively for the Cs and get within low single digits, and the defense also toughened up after being kinda fugazi’d in Q1:
But the Raptors stayed ahead, due to Lowry and Ibaka (as you’d expect) and guys like Patrick McCaw (definitely less expected). Their efforts brought Toronto back to a double-digit lead.
There were a lot of misses like that, actually. Not what you’d call fun.
That’d be Smart, Brown, Tatum, Walker and Hayward, in case you’re wondering. (Erotic City Vol. 2.) It wasn’t enough to gain the lead, but staunched the bleeding somewhat—especially on defense—and Kemba beat the halftime buzzer to bring it to 59-54 Raptors.
Early in the third, the Raptors started giving the Celtics a lot of open shots…which the Celtics didn’t make. The Raptors did not mirror this failure on their open shots.
The Celtics regained their footing:
And then the Raptors had another run. And then the Celtics had another.
And then the Raptors had another. Jesus Christ. 89-79 Raptors with three frames in the books.
Despite this, and forcing 22 turnovers, the Celtics couldn’t buy a goddamn shot and were still down double digits with six minutes left. Lowry and his cohorts were lights-out from deep, and the Celtics weren’t.