Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
While Boston controlled Game 1 from start to finish en route to a 112-94 victory, it wasn’t without a couple of moments during which momentum could have swung into Toronto’s favor. The Celtics prevented that from happening each and every time, the most important instance of which arrived during the final 40 seconds of the first half.
Boston had pulled ahead by as many as 22 points during the second quarter before the Raptors pulled back to within 12 during the final minute. Toronto had possession of the ball with less than 40 seconds remaining in the half with a chance to cut Boston’s lead to 10 or fewer. Instead, the Celtics found a way to pull away.
Jayson Tatum, who has continued to provide elite defense for Boston throughout the postseason, read Serge Ibaka’s eyes and picked off an attempted kick-out pass from the big man with 33 seconds left in the half. Tatum took the ball coast to coast for an uncontested transition slam to push the C’s ahead by 14 with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Fred VanVleet went on to miss a driving layup on Toronto’s ensuing possession, which provided Boston with one more possession of its own before the half came to a close. The C’s took advantage, and in emphatic fashion.
As the clock ticked down to zero, Kemba Walker relocated off the ball from the free-throw line out to beyond the top of the 3-point arc, and the Raptors somehow lost track of him. Marcus Smart wound up hitting a wide-open Walker with a pass about four feet behind the arc and Walker stepped into a trey and drained it as the buzzer sounded.
That 3-pointer, combined with Tatum’s steal and slam, was the haymaker that ostensibly put the Raptors away. Toronto went from having a chance to cut Boston’s lead to single digits with less than 40 seconds left in the half to trailing by 17, and it was never able to claw closer than 13 points from that point on.
Kemba Walker logged his first career postseason double-double during Game 1 by pouring in 18 points to go along with a career playoff high of 10 assists Sunday afternoon. Those 10 assists also marked the top total in the game, which Boston won convincingly.
Walker was instrumental to Boston’s success during his exactly 32 minutes of action. He made key shots throughout the contest, highlighted by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that ended the first half and provided the C’s with a commanding 17-point advantage. He shot 6-for-11 from the field overall, which included 4-for-7 from long range and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line during the contest.
The All-Star point guard also added in three rebounds and one steal while he was on the court. Only Marcus Smart, who finished with a plus-27 rating in the plus/minus category, finished with a better plus/minus rating than he did in the game.
Box Score Nuggets
- All five of Boston's starters scored at least 13 points, led by 21 from Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart.
- Rob Williams also scored in double-figures, as he added in 10 points, five rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal off the bench.
- Boston led by as many as 24 points.
- The Celtics shot 17-for-39 (43.6 percent) from 3-point range, while Toronto shot just 10-for-40 (25 percent) from beyond the arc.
- Both teams scored 38 points in the paint.
- No player on Toronto's roster scored more than 17 points. Kyle Lowry led the team with 17.
- Boston committed 22 turnovers, its most since .
- Toronto never led in the game.
- Daniel Theis stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 15 rebounds, 13 points, two blocks, one assist and one steal.
- Every Celtic who played more than nine minutes logged a positive plus/minus rating, led by Smart's plus-27.
- Boston's starters shot 16-for-17 from the free-throw line.
- Williams and Theis, who each blocked two shots, blocked as many shots individually as Toronto's entire team.
Quote of the Night
I believe in each and every one of those guys in that locker room.
Jayson Tatum on his teammates