Celtics Push Raptors to the Brink of Elimination with 111-89 Victory in Game 5
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, September 7, 2020
Jaylen Brown’s 27 points led the Boston Celtics to a 111-89 win against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, taking a 3-2 series lead in the process.
After a dismal shooting performance from Brown in game four, the Celtics guard bounced back, scoring 23 points on 56.6% shooting.
It was in the first quarter when the Celtics took control, limiting the defending NBA Champions to scoring only 11 points.
The closest difference on the scoreboard was when it was 5-3 Boston early, and there was no look back from the team in green and black.
Despite the series’ momentum playing in Toronto’s favour after a game four win, and OG Anunoby’s game-winning buzzer beater in game three, the Celtics stingy defensive look and speed in transition early effectively killed it.
Boston’s 24-point lead to start the fourth quarter was enough for Raptors bench boss Nick Nurse to rest his starters in the final frame, playing the likes of Terrence Davis II, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris Boucher and Matt Thomas.
The message was clear--get ready for game six.
Game six will be the first time this postseason the Raptors have played a must-win elimination game.
Boston shot over 55% from the field in the first half, while the Raptors shot under 30%--the difference was evident, as the Celtics led 27 at the half.
Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Brown all scored above double-digits before the first half ended.
The Raptors have won every third quarter in the series thus far, and Monday night was no different.
For a Toronto team that has struggled to score early against Boston, the first two quarters of each game have been crucial--in game five, it was the difference.
The third quarter was the only frame Toronto won, as they still trailed by 24 by the end of it.
The Raptors inability to shoot from beyond the arc put any hopes of a comeback to rest, finishing the game shooting 30% from three.
It has been a series where the team who shoots better from three-point territory wins--game five was no different, as the Celtics 32% three-point shooting percentage was good enough to take the series lead and push their Atlantic division foes to the brink of elimination.
Game six will go Wednesday, as the Celtics will look to advance to its first Eastern Conference Finals since 2018, and hand the Raptors its first series loss since 2018, when they lost to Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.