Game Rap: Raptors 107, Celtics 97
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
P.J. Tucker closed out the game at the free throw line to help Toronto cap off a 33-point fourth quarter as they completed a comeback from 17 down to collect a 107-97 victory against the Boston Celtics. With Kyle Lowry sidelined because of a sore wrist, DeMar DeRozan exploded for a career-high 43 points.
LOWRY OUT, PATTERSON IN
Prior to the game Dwane Casey announced that Patrick Patterson would make his return to the court after missing the previous six games with a sore knee. Casey also revealed that Kyle Lowry would be out because of a sore right wrist. Lowry injured the wrist in Toronto’s final game before the All-Star break and will undergo further evaluation this weekend. Cory Joseph started in Lowry’s place.
IBAKA, TUCKER SUIT UP
Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker made their Raptors debuts on Friday. Ibaka was announced in the stating lineup to a raucous ovation while Tucker came off the bench to play 29 minutes despite arriving in Toronto at 9:30 Friday morning and not having slept since before the trade was announced on Thursday afternoon.
SCATTERED FIRST HALF
With Kyle Lowry out and two new players in the lineup for the Raptors, it was expected that Friday’s game would involve some peaks and valleys. The first half had a bit of everything as Toronto struggled offensively in the first quarter (shooting 40 percent to Boston’s 55 percent), but made up for it in the second (shooting 53 percent to Boston’s 41 percent) and used a 7-0 run to close the half to get within 10 after trailing by as many as 17. The first half featured two technicals on the Celtics, a technical on the Raptors and a flagrant-1 on the Raptors as tempers flared. DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 19 in the half while Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 11 and rookie Jaylen Brown added 10.
THIRD QUARTER COMEBACK
A 12-point quarter from DeMar DeRozan and an improved defensive effort helped the Raptors close the gap on the Celtics in the third. Toronto held Boston to just 35 percent shooting in the quarter, outscoring the Celtics 29-22. Toronto led by as many as five in the quarter and the score was tied with less than a minute remaining in the third before a three-pointer from Marcus Smart gave the Celtics a three-point advantage heading into the fourth.
CLOSING IT OUT
After allowing Boston to go ahead by eight in the first two minutes of the fourth, the Raptors dug in defensively. As his team was getting stops, DeMar DeRozan went to work offensively, scoring 12 in the quarter, as he reached a career-high 43 points. New Raptors Tucker and Ibaka featured prominently in the fourth quarter, with Ibaka playing nine minutes and Tucker playing the entire 12 minutes as the Raptors held Boston to just 37 percent shooting. The Raptors connected on 61 percent if their field goals in the quarter, outscoring the Celtics 33-20. After giving up 55 points in the first half, Toronto held Boston to 44 points in the second half.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan was phenomenal in a career-night against the Celtics. DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points in 37 minutes, shooting 15-for-28 form the floor, 1-for-3 from beyond the arc and 12-for-12 from the free throw line. He added five rebounds and five assists as well.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
P.J. Tucker was fantastic in his Raptors debut, coming off the bench to play 29 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter. Tucker scored nine points on 2-for-5 field goals, making his only three-point attempt and shooting 4-for-6 from the free throw line. He added a team-high 10 rebounds to go with an assist and three steals.
THAT'S A RAP…
“That type of physical play, that’s what this league is about … the way we competed down the stretch with that group, that’s the physicality we have to play (with) against a very high-powered offensive team like Boston and everybody else we play.”
- Dwane Casey on a hard-fought victory against a tough opponent
BY THE #’S
41…Rebounds for the Raptors, 36 for the Celtics. Toronto also held a 10-7 edge on the offensive glass.
52…Points in the paint for Toronto compared to 34 for Boston.
49…Percent shooting in the game for the Raptors. Boston shot 42 percent for the game.
15…Points, seven rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot for Serge Ibaka in his Raptors debut. Ibaka played 36 minutes in his first game in a Raptors uniform.
THEY SAID IT…
“We’ve got so many weapons and so many possibilities. Defensively, I think we can really wreak havoc. That last lineup we had, and then you throw Kyle in there, we can really do some things and be special. We haven’t practised. I didn’t shoot-around. I didn’t do anything. To see the chemistry we had, me and Serge didn’t know any plays. We were just kind of playing. It was a feel. We were working through it and talking.”
- P.J. Tucker talking about possibilities with his new roster
“It feels good. I thank all the fans here for the love. It really feels good.”
- Serge Ibaka on the ovation he received from the crowd in his debut
“It’s one of 25, we’ve got 24 more to go. We’ve got a lot of basketball left to be played, a lot of different type of games to be played. They’re going to be won in different ways, different groups. I told the guys everybody has to be ready to pull their weight. I’m not holding prisoners, the coaching staff we’re going with the guys that are getting the job done for that game. And every game is going to be different.”
- Dwane Casey when asked if the victory was a statement game
“That was a great team victory. I literally, I was proud of those guys. They did a great job. Tuck came in, got 10 rebounds, started playing well. Cory played well, everybody played well. When a guy goes down, everyone steps up. That shows a good team effort. We have some things to build on and right now I’m just a cheerleader, but I’m gonna help my guys as much as I can, and I’m gonna get my cardio in and try and stay in the best condition I can be in so when I come back, I can come in and help the guys.”
- Kyle Lowry on watching his teammates take care of business
“Yeah, we just played. We just told guys, obviously we hadn't had a full practice with everybody, everybody don't know the plays, we just said, when we get stops just play. Everybody knows how to play basketball. Our main goal was to get stops and we just played. Kept it simple.”
- DeMar DeRozan on things starting to click in the second half
“It’s perfect. I told him, ‘It felt good not to have to chase you around.’ It felt good to see him get going tonight and be on the same side. With me, him and DeMarre Carroll out there together, it’s going to be dynamic defensively because we can switch so much. And then when he gets going like that, it’s easy for me to play defence."
- P.J. Tucker on getting to play alongside DeMar DeRozan rather than having to be the playing guarding him
“I mean, I want my team to win. I’m emotional. I want my team to win. I love these guys. This is my job. This is what we do. We’re in this together. We wanna win every single game, especially playing a tough team like Boston, who’s in second place. I think everything I do out there is with passion and with love for the game.”
- Kyle Lowry on being an enthusiastic supporter from the bench
The Portland Trail Blazers will be in Toronto to take on the Raptors at the ACC on Sunday at 6 P.M. ET.