Celtics Take 2-0 Series Lead Over Raptors After Marcus Smart's Fourth-Quarter Breakout
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Marcus Smart’s 16 points in the fourth quarter propelled the Boston Celtics to a 102-99 comeback victory against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 series lead in Eastern Conference Semifinals.
After being a non-factor offensively through the first three quarters of play, Smart made three consecutive shots from beyond the arc to erase Toronto’s eight-point lead that was possessed entering the fourth.
Smart scored the first 16 points for Boston in the final frame and finished the game with 19 points.
The defending NBA champions went on an 11-0 run in a span of 2:03 late in the third quarter that created separation on the scoreboard in favour of Toronto for the first time in the series.
It was Smart’s fourth-quarter breakthrough and Jayson Tatum’s game-high 34 points that prevented the Raptors from maintaining control of the game, and a result, seeing the Celtics take the lead in the final frame.
In game one, the ineffectiveness of the Raptors in the first quarter was the difference--on Tuesday night, Toronto avoided a poor start and as a result, limited the Celtics to take an early edge.
After allowing the Celtics to score 39 points in the opening frame in game one, the Raptors allowed 28 in game two, as the quarter ended in a tie.
Fred VanVleet matched his 11-point output from game one half way through the second quarter on Tuesday night.
The Raptors guard finished the game with 16 points.
The half ended with Toronto facing a two-point deficit, as well as the team making zero trips to the free throw line.
It is the second time in playoff franchise history that the team has not attempted a free throw in a single half of play, with the last time being in game four of the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
OG Anunoby was the only bright spot for Toronto with shooting from beyond the arc--going 4-6 from three, contributing to his team’s less than impressive 11-40 mark.
Game three between the Raptors and Celtics will be on Thursday night, with the tip off scheduled to be just after 6:30 PM EST.
Toronto will look to cut into Boston's series lead and avoid falling behind 3-0.