Monday night's preseason opener between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors was a close one until the final minutes of the game. That's when Toronto found its groove and the Celtics showed their inexperience.
Dwight Buycks turned the game in Toronto’s favor when he drilled a fadeaway jumper with 7:05 remaining in the contest. That bucket put the Raptors on top 86-84 just 24 seconds after Courtney Lee had swished home a 3-pointer for the C’s.
Toronto’s confidence continued to soar over the course of the rest of the game, thanks in large part to Terrence Ross soaring through the air. Ross scored the next basket of the game when he flew sky-high and slammed home a monstrous dunk.
Ross’ slam woke the Raptors up, and it put the Celtics to sleep. Boston made just one field goal, a dunk by Jeff Green, over the final 7:28 of the game.
While the C’s were struggling, Toronto pulled away with a balanced offensive attack. Four Raptors scored in the final seven minutes, including four points apiece from Ross and Austin Daye. Daye’s final two points, scored via free throws with 40.3 seconds remaining in the game, capped the preseason-opening win for the Raptors.
Key Box Score Line
Jared Sullinger fooled us all. He told us his conditioning had a long way to go, but it sure didn’t look like that Monday night.
Sullinger was extraordinarily effective during Boston’s preseason opener against the Raptors. He scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and tallied the team’s best plus/minus rating, at plus-nine. He also led the Celtics in rebounding with six boards and dished out four assists.
Did this performance surprise head coach Brad Stevens, seeing as Sullinger himself has admitted to not being in great shape?
“No, cause he’s good,” Stevens said bluntly shortly after the loss. “He’s a good player.”
He was more along the lines of a great player during this game. Keep in mind that Sullinger accrued all of these statistics while playing less than 20 minutes. Now imagine what he may be able to do with extended playing time.
That’s a good reason to get excited.
Box Score Nuggets
- Gerald Wallace led the Celtics in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
- The Celtics committed just 14 turnovers, while the Raptors committed 26.
- Boston scored 26 points off of Toronto's 26 turnovers.
- Seven Celtics dished out at least two assists, led by five from Kelly Olynyk.
- Rudy Gay and Tyler Hansbrough scored a game-high 17 points apiece in just 23 minutes of action.
- Boston tallied just one more rebound (26) than it did assists (25).
- Toronto's scoring decreased during each of the first three quarters.
- Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with six boards.
- Jeff Green blocked two shots.
- Jonas Valanciunas notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
- Gay committed a game-high four turnovers.
- Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee were the only players who logged more than 27 minutes of action. Each played more than 32 minutes.
Quote of the Night
That wasn't very good, was it? Brad Stevens on his team having just six rebounds at halftime