10/19 Celtics @ Raptors Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Celtics 101, Raptors 113

Boston Celtics:

  • The starting lineup does not seem to be hitting their stride- quite yet. By both the starters and bench alike, there is some hesitation and some unnecessary passing done by both units. Kyrie is not known for his facilitation and setting others up. A score-first point guard is an asset when he is hitting his shots, but when cold, can bring an offense down tremendously. However, it is only the second game of the season and the chemistry presumably will be drastically better come late in the year.
  • Throughout the game, and especially in the second half, it seemed the Celtics struggled with how to defend the Leonard-led offense. This comes with the aforementioned chemistry issues, but both placing Tatum on him and double-teams did not seem to slow him down considerably. Leonard makes opportunities for everyone on the court, instead of previous Raptors teams where it was a back-court heavy approach, and this may be a problem for the Celtics.
  • Boston brought themselves very close in the end but ultimately was the reason for their demise. Jayson Tatum picked up two charging fouls against Kyle Lowry, and the Celtics offense began to miss shots late. The Raptors took advantage of the momentum created as a result, and made key shots that kept both Boston out of it and the crowd into it.

Play of the Game: With 2:53 left in the game, Kyrie Irving weaved through the defense towards the paint only to pass it behind him to a wide-open Al Horford. The center, at the top of the key, drained the clutch three to bring the team within two.

Toronto Raptors:

  • Serge Ibaka had one of his best games in recent memory. He seems to gel well with his new role with the team, looking very comfortable on the court. Ibaka scored 21 tonight, but provided a presence defensively and remained active on the boards. Leonard missed a two-pointer late that Ibaka rose up for a putback to keep the Raptors ahead.
  • The Raptors lack a real center on the roster, splitting time between
    Jonas Valanciunas and Pascal Siakam. It seems to still be working well for Toronto, as they still remain active on the boards and do not allow an excessive amount of points in the paint. This is especially true against a team like Boston, who lacks a strong, physical center- with Horford being known more as a scorer.
  • The acquisitions of both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have already proven to be great for this Raptors team. Leonard, obviously, allows for the team to run a more efficient style then they have ran in previous years. He makes his teammates better, and that includes the other former San Antonio player. Danny Green thrives off the opportunities given to him within the offense, and both bring a championship mentality to the Toronto locker room.

Play of the Game: With 1:14 left in the game, Jayson Tatum drove hard to the basket being pursued by both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Tatum threw hit shot up, only to be blocked hard by both Raptors players, to kill any momentum Boston was creating late.

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