The Toronto Raptors are hosting this year’s All Star Game in a few weeks, but probably-soon-to-be-All Star DeMar DeRozan got a jump on the festivities, leading Toronto to a 6 point win over the Celtics thanks to a 34 point, 6 assist performance.
The Celtics and Raptors traded a bunch of early baskets before the Raps started a barrage from deep that led to a 12-2 run and a 10 point lead. The lead would grow to 13 before settling at 8 at the buzzer. The vaunted Celtics D allowed 35 points in the quarter on 65% shooting. On the plus side, after allowing 3 straight 3’s in that Raps run, Toronto missed their next 4 attempts.
The Celtic bench fueled a bit of a comeback to start the second quarter. Jonas Jerebko had a 3 and coast-to-coast layup followed by a pair of Kelly Olynyk 3’s to cut the lead to 3. Olynyk and Jerebko stayed hot to help keep the game pretty even over the next few minutes, then the starters began to filter in, and play defense, to take a lead. Avery Bradley scored 6 straight point in just more than a minute during that stretch, which was part of a larger 22-10 run to close the quarter. After dropping the 1st quarter 35-27, the Celtics won the 2nd 35-21… and went into the half with a 6 point lead.
That didn’t last long in the 3rd quarter, though, with Jonas Valanciunas being the early focal point of the Raptors offense. He scored 6 points in a 10-4 run that gave Toronto the lead back just a few minutes into the 2nd half. He’d finish the 2nd quarter with 13 points. From there it was the DeMar DeRozan show. He finished with 18 points in the 3rd quarter alone, viciously attacking any and all comers dropping 7 of 10 shots and 4 of 5 from the line. Valanciunas and DeRozan shot 13 of 16 (JV was 6 of 6). Raps were up 6 after 3.
The 4th quarter didn’t start out particularly great with the Raptors getting a bunch of second chances but not making much of those opportunities. The C’s kept it close and even withstood a little surge after DeRozan checked in to tie the game at 105 with 3:20 left behind a couple of Thomas layups and a Bradley jumper. The Raps hit, what else, a couple of 3’s in the ensuing exchange to push their lead back to 4. A Crowder J cut it in half but DeRozan canned a jumper to get back to a 4 point lead with 46 seconds left. The Celtics had the ball under their own basket a few seconds later but couldn’t get the ball in… leading to Isaiah Thomas to make an ill-advised long pass that Toronto tracked down. The only shot the Celtics could muster in the final minute of the game was a heavily contested Avery Bradley jumper. Toronto went on to win 115-109
Kelly Olynyk had another hot game, with 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds…. but… (scroll down for the rest of this thought)
Jonas Jerebko seemed to be playing like his old self.. though he only got 15 minutes.
Jae Crowder quietly had another nice offensive game with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
….But how does Olynyk only take 10 shots in this game, including just 4 in a 4th quarter where the Celtics could have used some scoring help. Isaiah Thomas, whom I love and think is absolutely an All Star, needs to trust and find Olynyk more in these situations. Again, IT went at it alone far too much down the stretch, taking 11 shots in the 4th and only making 4.
Celtics 3 point defense was not great… especially the starters. The starting unit struggled at the beginning of each half especially.
Speaking of defense… 115 points on 55% shooting for Toronto? This great defense the Celtics are known for has failed them recently. That’s a HUGE scoring night against this D.
Jared Sullinger (1-7 fg, 3 points, -19) was mostly terrible tonight.
Marcus Smart didn’t take many shots, but he took a couple of bad 3’s (which he missed) and he had some missed reads on the pick and roll that he needs to get better at recognizing.
Jonas coast to coast
Jonas Jerebko comes up with the steal and takes it coast-to-coast! pic.twitter.com/9BBLF3ZGtO
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 21, 2016
Kelly Olynyk with the slam
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 21, 2016
- Points in the paint: Raptors 54 – Celtics 38
- Valanciunas: 19 points (9-9 fg, 1-2 ft) 12 rebounds
- Luis Scola: 18 points (8-12 fg, 2-4 3pt) 5 rebounds
- Amir Johnson: 2 points (1-3 fg) 4 rebounds
- Sullinger: 3 points (1-7 fg) 2 rebounds
- Bench points: Celtics 47 – Raptors 25
Gotta close out these games with better late game execution. And, as I’ve said a million times… it starts on the defensive end. Offense has to come from defense or else these types of finishes will continue to happen.