Tenacious Raptors Bounce Back, Down Celtics 113-97
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, December 28, 2019
After suffering a discouraging sixteen point loss at home to the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, the Toronto Raptors bounced back with a vengeance Saturday night, downing the Celtics 113-97 at the TD Garden in Boston.
As was the case last season,the Raptors showed their ability to put a bad game behind them. Toronto came out on fire in this one, shooting just over 71% from the field in the opening stanza and closing out the quarter on a 19-8 run to take a 36-25 lead. The Raptors dominated the glass in the early going, out rebounding the Celtics 14-3. The Raps were buoyed by an overturned blocking foul against guard Kyle Lowry, coach Nick Nurse’s successful challenge preventing Lowry from picking up his second personal foul.
The Raptors came out cold to start the second quarter, going just 1-7 from the field and allowing the Celtics to cut Toronto’s advantage to 40-37 just under five minutes in. But after a Nick Nurse time-out, the Raptors promptly went on a 9-0 run, behind inspired play at both ends of the floor from guard Terence Davis and forward Chris Boucher. The Celtics however responded with a 10-1 run of their own following a timeout and closed out the first half with Kemba Walker’s buzzer beating three cutting the Raptors lead to 59-54.
Unlike Wednesday when the Celtics dominated the third quarter to put the game away, Toronto came out strong after the break, back to back threes by Lowry and Serge Ibaka giving the Raps a twelve point lead just over three minutes in. The Celtics managed to cut the lead to five but strong work on the offensive glass by Davis and forward Oshae Brissett enabled the Raptors to capitalize on second chance opportunities and enjoy a ten point lead after three quarters.
The Raptors defense simply refused to let the Celtics mount any kind of significant run in the final period, Boston managing only 18 points in the quarter and the Raptors earning a well-deserved split of the home and home series.
The turnaround for the Raptors this night is perhaps best illustrated by the rebounding story. Outrebounded 45-34 on Wednesday, the Raptors dominated the glass in tonight’s contest, holding a 53-31 advantage.
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 30 points, including five of ten shooting from beyond the arc. Serge Ibaka posted a double double with 20 points and ten boards while Patrick McCaw had his best game as a Raptor, scoring 18 points to go with seven rebounds and eight assists while logging over 42 minutes of action. Kemba Walker had 30 points to lead the Celtics.
The win improves the Raptors record to 22-10, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, five and a half games behind the conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks. The loss snapped the Celtics five game winning streak and at 22-8 Boston sits in third, a game ahead of Toronto.