The Celtics got the stop. They just didn’t get the rebound.
Boston and Toronto were tied at 103-103 with 28.6 seconds remaining in Friday night’s tilt at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors had the ball, and they went to one of their top options, point guard Kyle Lowry, for the go-ahead shot attempt.
Lowry drove to the basket off of a high pick-and-roll and got a shot off from the right block area. Jared Sullinger had switched onto Lowry on the play and actually defended the point guard well, forcing a miss that bounced off of the rim and to the right. However, it was the other end of Boston's defensive switch on the perimeter that cost it the game.
Amir Johnson had set the high screen and wound up with Avery Bradley defending him. Johnson, a 6-foot-9 power forward, powered through the 6-foot-3 Bradley and got to the basket for a follow up shot. He caught Lowry's miss and put up a shot all in one motion, kissing the ball off of the glass and through the net for a 105-103 lead.
Shortly after the game, Lowry recounted the game-winning play.
“The play was for me and [Johnson] to get a pick-and-roll,” he said. “I drove it hard, I got the big fella to commit, so [Johnson] had a small on him. He just made a hell of a play.”
That sequence accounted for the final points of the game. Boston had 7.1 seconds left on the clock after Johnson's basket, plenty of time to tie or win the game, but it was unable to get a clean look off as time expired.
Key Box Score Line
Friday night felt like déjà vu for the Boston Celtics. Trail by double-digits heading into the fourth quarter, use a one-man scoring spree to get back into the game, then fall to the Raptors in the final seconds.
That’s what happened to Boston on Wednesday night, when it trailed Toronto by 15 points heading into the fourth but clawed back to within three thanks to Jared Sullinger’s 19 points in the frame. Two late 3-pointers wound up pushing the Raptors to a 99-90 victory.
On Friday, the C’s trailed Toronto by 12 points heading into the fourth but got back into the game thanks to Jerryd Bayless. As we all know by now, Boston fell 105-103, but Bayless' performance was one heck of a show.
Bayless caught fire during the final frame, scoring 14 of his team-high 20 points in the period. His jumper with 4:52 remaining put Boston on top 96-95, which was the team’s first lead since being ahead 53-52 late in the first half.
Though DeMar DeRozan scored 12 points in the final period for Toronto, Bayless was far and away the best player on the court. He made six of his eight shot attempts in the final frame. DeRozan, meanwhile, shot just 5-of-12 from the field during the quarter.
Boston outscored Toronto by two points during the 26-plus minutes in which Bayless was on the floor. The guard also contributed one rebound, three assists and one steal on the night.
Box Score Nuggets
- Six Celtics scored in double-figures, led by Jerryd Bayless' 20 points.
- Neither team grabbed more than 36 rebounds.
- Both teams made 40 field goals, but Boston did so on 10 fewer shot attempts than Toronto attempted.
- Toronto outscored Boston by nine in the third, then the C's outscored the Raptors by 10 in the fourth.
- DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 30 points.
- Jared Sullinger, who grabbed nine boards off the bench, was Boston's only player who grabbed more than five rebounds.
- Phil Pressey dished out five assists in just 13-plus minutes of action.
- Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas each blocked two shots, which matched Boston's team total.
- Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo each scored 11 points.
- Terrence Ross scored 17 points for the Raptors in just 28 minutes of play.
- Toronto shot 20-of-22 from the free-throw line.
Quote of the Night
We've got to stop getting down 14 every game. That's the bottom line. And then we've got to finish. That's as much on me as anybody else. But we can't constantly be down double-figures heading into the fourth quarter. And to our guys' credit, they fight. They play to the horn. But it's not good enough if you're always running uphill. Brad Stevens explains a contributing reason to Jeff Green's six-point performanceMore quotes >>