Free throws, free throws, free throws. Coaches stress these shots because they are of the utmost importance.
And they can end losing streaks.
The Celtics, who entered Wednesday night’s tilt against the Raptors on a nine-game losing streak, used the free-throw line to snap their skid. They toed the line with confidence in the final 30 seconds of the game to come away with an 88-83 victory.
What stood out the most about this performance was the fact that this was a collective effort for Boston at the free-throw line. Three different Celtics stepped to the stripe and hit seven critical freebies in the final 30 seconds. Jared Sullinger knocked down four of them, Avery Bradley hit one, and then Brandon Bass sealed the victory with a perfect trip to the line with two seconds remaining in regulation.
This game could have easily had a different result had the Celtics not had ice in their veins over the final 30 seconds of the contest. Kyle Lowry scored five points in a span of just eight seconds to keep this a one-possession contest.
Those points, however, were rendered meaningless thanks to Boston’s cool ways. They stepped to the line time after time and calmly hit what may be the most important shot in basketball – the free throw.
Key Box Score Line
Seriously? Was there any question about who would land in this spot? Jared Sullinger was a maniac Wednesday night. No other player who participated in this game should even be mentioned in the same breath as him.
Sullinger posted game highs in two different categories Wednesday night while joining some rare company in Celtics history. He topped the box score with 25 points and 20 rebounds to become the first Boston player to record a 20-20- game since Kevin Garnett in the Big Ticket’s first game in a Celtics uniform.
Toronto literally had no answers for the big man at either end of the court. He shot 50 percent from the field and nailed 10 of his 14 free throws. He grabbed eight offensive rebounds to go with his 12 defensive rebounds. Heck, he even contributed four assists and two steals, all while not committing a single turnover.
That, by the truest of definitions, is a key box score line.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two of the three players in the game who scored at least 20 points were Celtics.
- Jared Sullinger led the game with 25 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
- Neither team shot better than 38.5 percent from the field.
- There were 21 lead changes in the game.
- Only two of Toronto's starters scored more than eight points in the contest.
- Avery Bradley scored 20 points.
- Sullinger's 20 rebounds were more than double than that of Toronto's top individual rebounding total, which was eight.
- Each team blocked three shots.
- Phil Pressey dished out 10 assists without committing a turnover in his first NBA start.
- DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 23 points.
- Kyle Lowry accounted for Toronto's only double-double with 18 points and 12 assists.
- Toronto scored 15 points in the third quarter, and Boston scored 15 points in the fourth quarter.
- The teams combined to score 56 points in the paint, which was two less points than Houston scored in the paint against Boston on Monday.
Quote of the Night
Well, we were up three with no timeouts trying to get the ball inbounds, and with one of the best passers in the world sitting right next to me. So no, he would not have been. I told (assistant coach) Jay Larranaga he was next, and (assistant coach) Walter (McCarty) was right after him, depending on what we needed. Brad Stevens on if Rajon Rondo was available in the case of an emergency Wednesday nightMore quotes >>