The Raptors apparently heard that the Celtics considered Friday night a must-win game, and they responded by dominating Boston for most of the 48 minutes. The Celts never led, trailed by as many as 20, and although they fought back in the third quarter, went down to their fourth straight defeat, 105-91.
Kyle Lowry killed the Cs, scoring 32 points on 9-14 shooting from the floor (including 5-8 on threes) and 9-14 from the foul line. But the tone was set by Luis Scola, who came in averaging 8.7 points per game, and doubled that in the first quarter with 17 points on 7-9 shooting, including a trio of threes. Scola didn’t score again, but the damage was done.
Isaiah Thomas had 20 for the Green but became frustrated at the lack of foul calls on his drives. He finally was hit with a technical in the fourth quarter.
The Raptors were playing their fourth game in five nights and went to overtime at Indiana on Thursday while the Celts had the night off, yet it was Toronto who started fast. They made their first five shots, including two threes at the shot clock buzzer. It got worse from there as Scola caught fire. Raptors led, 30-14, going to the second.
The Celts bounced back slightly in the second quarter. They shot 50% for the period and took better care of the ball. Yet Toronto’s lead peaked at 19 and they led at the break, 55-41.
Boston was more fired up after intermission. Turner began guarding Lowry (Isaiah had him the first half) and held him to just three points in the third. Several times, the Cs felt they got a bad whistle from the refs, which seemed to fire them up. Isaiah repeatedly attacked the rim, scoring 12 in the quarter. When R.J. Hunter hit a last-second triple (his second three of the game), Boston had scored 33 in the period and was within 79-74 going to the fourth.
Toronto regained control with a 6-0 run to start the fourth, helped by two ugly turnovers by R.J. that created sneakaway baskets. Amir made a scrappy steal and fed Smart for a layup, but it was a momentary interruption in the Raptors’ surge. Lowery made two free throws, swished a transition three, and capped it with a heat-check triple. Toronto’s lead had ballooned to 93-76 and the rest was garbage time.
Get well soon, Jae and Jonas.
The rookies, Mickey, Rozier and Hunter, all played meaningful minutes in the first half and were respectable.
Olynyk started the second half for Amir Johnson, who was ineffective in the first half. But Amir ended up playing 6:41 in the third and responded with six points, three boards and a block.
This was the second game in a row that the Celts never held a lead. The closest they were in Toronto was at 2-2 in the first minute.
While falling behind big in the first quarter, Boston shot only 40% and committed six turnovers. Meanwhile, Toronto shot 12-22, including 6-10 from the arc.
First half in a nutshell: Cs played Hack-a-Bismack (Biyombo) with nine seconds left. The 64% FT shooter made both. Cs failed to score on their extra, last possession.
Boston Celtics trailing by 20…
Last two games: 2
Previous 51 games: 0
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) March 19, 2016
- Evan Turner started in place of Jae Crowder, while Marcus Smart returned to coming off the bench.
- Points in the Paint: Celtics 44 (22/42), Raptors 38 (19/33)
- Shooting: Celtics 43.9% (36-82), Raptors 48.1% (37-77)
- Free Throws: Celtics 10-12, Raptors 18-25
- 3-pointers: Celtics 9-21, Raptors 13-28