Ford Keys to the Game: Raptors 64, Celtics 100
Raptors 64, Celtics 100
“It’s about time.”
Those were Doc Rivers’ words after Wednesday night’s 100-64 blowout victory over the Toronto Raptors, which finally put the Celtics back above the .500 mark. It’s the first time Boston has been above .500 since they entered play on Jan. 6 with a 4-3 record.
The Celtics are now 11-10 thanks to a dominating performance Wednesday night that embarrassed the Toronto Raptors and brought Gino out yet again in TD Garden. The Celtics led by at least 11 points for 38 minutes and 49 seconds of the game’s 48-minute duration, and they were ahead by as many as 40 points in the game. With that being said, there wasn’t exactly one portion of this game that dictated the result. There was, however, one portion of the game that was key for this Celtics team.
It’s no secret that Boston is coming off of two consecutive games in which it blew enormous leads against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The C’s led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s eventual loss, and then they blew a 22-point second-half lead Tuesday night before holding on tight and escaping with the win.
Memories of those two games were nice and fresh in Boston’s mind heading into play against Toronto, especially considering the fact that it took a 22-point lead (sound familiar?) into halftime tonight. However, this time the Celtics weren’t going to let up. They were prepared to keep the throttle down for the entire second half, and it all started with the Captain.
“Paul made a great point to me before he came out. He said, ‘I’m going hard these first six minutes, because I want to sit,” Rivers said after the game. “He said, ‘We’re going to try to get this lead up so we can sit.”
Pierce and the rest of the starters certainly delivered on that statement. They played so well that Rivers was able to have all five starters off of the floor before the third quarter even came to a conclusion. They didn't return for the rest of the night.
That group came out in the second half and played with the exact same aggression and mindset that it did in the first half. The starters' stellar play helped the Celtics to maintain their huge advantage and eventually bump the lead up into the 30s when Ray Allen cashed in a 3-pointer with 3:23 left in the third quarter. Allen’s trey capped an 11-2 run that the C’s put together in a span of just 1:28 of playing time.
The 11-2 run was key in turning this game into a complete laugher, but it was the energy and mindset the Celtics came out with at the start of the second half that led to this blowout win. Boston came out in the second half and let the Raptors know immediately that this lead was not going to dwindle in the same manner that it had in the prior two games. Tonight it would do nothing but grow.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce played less than 26 minutes tonight, but that’s what happens when you embarrass an opponent and grab a win going away. Those limited minutes weren't enough to prevent Pierce from putting up some fantastic numbers.
The Captain recorded game highs of 17 points and eight assists while also pulling in six boards for the C’s. He shot 5-for-11 from the field and committed just one turnover. Ten of Pierce’s points came in the third quarter after he pledged to his coach that he was going to “go hard” for the first six minutes of the second half and put this game away.
You can’t fill up a box score much more than Pierce did in less than 26 minutes of play. There were six other players in the game who logged more playing time, but none of them came even close to matching the impact and numbers of No. 34.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston scored at least 20 points in every quarter.
- Avery Bradley, who logged just 26:28 of playing time, played the most of Boston's five starters.
- The Celtics have now scored exactly 100 points the last three times that they broke the century mark.
- Every active player on Boston's team grabbed at least one rebound.
- Paul Pierce recorded game highs of 17 points and eight assists. He also grabbed six boards.
- The Celtics' biggest lead was 40 points.
- Boston's reserves combined to score 47 points.
- All but two of Boston's 13 active players recorded at least one assist.
- In limited action, Boston's starters totaled 20 assists.
- The Celtics made 39 field goals and 30 of them came off of assists.
- Ed Davis recorded the game's only double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
- JaJuan Johnson scored a career-high 11 points in just 9:43 of action. He shot 5-of-5 from the field.
- Four Celtics tied for the team high with five made field goals. Only one Raptor, Jerryd Bayless, made five field goals
- Brandon Bass totaled 12 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.
- The Celtics scored 20 points off of 16 Toronto turnovers.
- Boston (12) attempted six less free throws than Toronto (18), but made two more (10) than the Raptors (eight).
- The Celtics shot 52.0 percent from the field and made 12 of their 24 3-pointers.
- James Johnson and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 6-of-23 from the floor for Toronto.
- Only two Raptors (Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa) recorded more than one assist, compared to seven Celtics that achieved that feat.
- Boston outrebounded Toronto by a count of 46-39.
- Tonight's game was completed in just two hours and three minutes.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Mickael Pietrus' impact: "[Mickael Pietrus], it's just his defensive presence on our team has been phenomenal. He's like Kevin (Garnett) is for our starters; he's becoming that for our second unit. He holds everybody accountable."