Game Rap: Raptors 101, Celtics 94
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Al Horford fouled Kyle Lowry from beyond the arc with 30.6 seconds remaining and the Raptors ahead by four points. Lowry drilled all three free throws to put Toronto ahead by seven as the Celtics called a timeout. Although Horford would complete a three-point play on Boston’s following possession, the Raptors closed out the game at the free throw line, grabbing a 101-94 victory on the road.
CARROLL, THOMAS SIT
DeMarre Carroll played in Toronto’s 124-110 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and the team elected to sit him for Friday’s back-to-back against Boston. Sophomore Norman Powell started in his place. The Celtics were without leading scorer Isaiah Thomas as he sat his second consecutive game with a groin strain.
ROCKY FIRST HALF
Although the Raptors trailed by just three after the first quarter in Boston, energy levels dropped in the second, as the Celtics outscored Toronto 22-17 and the Raptors shot just 33 percent in the quarter. Kyle Lowry had 13 points in the half to lead Toronto, but the Celtics still held an eight-point lead at the half.
THIRD QUARTER TURNAROUND
Things flipped in the third quarter as the Raptors stepped up their defence and the offence started clicking. Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 in the quarter, forcing the Celtics into 28 percent shooting as Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 24 of Toronto’s 33 points in the quarter and Norman Powell upped the pressure on the defensive end of the floor. A Powell steal and dunk helped ignite a Raptors run and Toronto went from trailing by eight at the half to going into the fourth ahead by seven.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Celtics never led in the fourth quarter, but they also didn't stop fighting until the final buzzer sounded. Toronto led by as many as 11 points, with Powell’s eight points leading the way and Lowry adding seven points of his own. Powell was a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the final quarter and played all but four seconds in the quarter. Boston would get within four points in the final 30 seconds of the game, but they couldn’t convert on multiple three-point attempts and Toronto held on for the win.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Lowry was not interested in anything other than a win on Friday night. When the team was falling behind in the first half and struggling to make shots, once again, Lowry was there when they needed him. He scored a game-high 34 points on 9-for-18 field goals, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc and 12-for-13 from the free throw line. Lowry added seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in 36 minutes.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Norman Powell continues to do whatever is asked of him with ease. Whether he’s in the starting lineup as he was on Friday, coming in to provide a boost of the bench, or finding himself not getting into the game if his teammates have things rolling, Powell is ready for it. In Boston, his defensive energy was crucial in the third quarter as the team made its comeback. He didn’t just play solid defence, though. He was Toronto’s third leading-scorer, contributing 20 points on 7-for-10 field goals, including 3-for-4 three-point field goals.Powell added three rebounds, two assists and a career-high five steals in his 36 minutes.
THAT'S A RAP…
“It was big. It shows a lot. How resilient we are, no matter if things are not going well for us, we can always play extremely well defensively and try to figure out a way to win.”
- DeMar DeRozan on turning the game around and picking up a big back-to-back victory
BY THE #’S
37…Percent shooting for the Celtics, a number Raptors head coach Dwane Casey will be pleased to see.
50…Rebounds for Toronto, 46 for Boston.
38…Points in the paint scored by the Raptors, 22 by the Celtics.
9…made three-pointers for Toronto (on 20 attempts), compared to 17 for Boston (on 42 attempts).
24…Points, five rebounds, two assists for DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors were a +16 when DeRozan was on the floor.
THEY SAID IT…
“It was a very good team win for us. Everyone stepped up tonight. Norm [Powell], I know some games he plays and some he doesn’t, but 20 points. Pat [Patterson] didn’t shoot the ball well but came up with some big rebounds. We had a great team win tonight and against a team that plays extremely hard. They are missing their All-Star guard, but they played extremely hard and they played well and together.”
- Kyle Lowry summing up the victory
“I think it was just the attention to detail. Guys were into the ball in pick and rolls, last night we weren’t and the proof is in the pudding. This is a talented offensive team and if we can do that against these guys we have to do that for the majority of the rest of our schedule.”
- Dwane Casey on the difference in defensive effort in Friday’s win compared to Thursday’s win
“I approach it the same way. My expectations for myself and what I see myself being able to do never changes no matter what the situation is. It’s all about working through it and working to be ready for the opportunity to prove yourself. That’s my mentality the whole time. I know I repeat it over and over again, but it’s the truth. That’s how I look at it. Bide my time, I’m a young player in this league with great guys in front of me that are veteran players in front of me doing their thing this year. It’s about staying ready for my time to be called, build trust with them and the coaches so you know when it’s my turn I’m ready and I’m prepared for the situation.”
- Norman Powell on staying ready for whatever role he’s asked to play each night
“You’ve got to give that man a lot of credit. He’ll go a couple of games without playing, playing a few minutes, but when his name is called and he goes out and plays, he shows a toughness that he’s not scared of the moment or nothing. You’ve got to give credit to him. It’s great to have that type of player ready like that.”
- DeMar DeRozan on Norman Powell
“He’s just a mature young man. It says something about a guy that has been in school for four years, he comes in doesn’t play, steps in, gets you 20 points, defensive toughness and you can’t say enough good things about him because one thing he works his behind off. He’s prepared every time you put him in the line-up and that’s what our team should be about is what he represents; how his toughness, his team first attitude is huge. It says a lot about our guys who on a back to back night coming in and scrapping and fighting like that."
- Dwane Casey on Norman Powell’s approach
The Milwaukee Bucks come to Toronto to take on the Raptors on Monday at 7:30 PM. ET on the Air Canada Centre floor.