Raptors, behind big third quarter, defeat Celtics 113-103
As the teams went into halftime tied at 54, it seemed the battle of the teams at the top of the Atlantic Division would go down to the wire, but the Raptors, behind an offensive surge in the third quarter, defeated the Celtics 113-103.
Although they were tied 54-54 at halftime, it was the Celtics who looked like the better team through two frames. Despite holding the Raptors to 32% shooting, Toronto was able to put 54 points on the scoreboard in the game's first 24 minutes by scoring 42 points on free throws and three-pointers.
Boston's offensive output in the first half was led by Isaiah Thomas' 14 points and 5 assists. Overall, Thomas led all scorers for the second game in a row, as he finished with 25 points on 7-16 shooting.
In the end, the difference in the final score was a result of the teams third quarter performances. During the first nine minutes, the Celtics starters were unable to match Toronto's intensity and offensive effort, as the Raptors scored 28 points and took an 82-68 lead that they never came close to relinquishing.
Perhaps the most disappointing effort came from the Celtics starters. All five ended the game with a negative plus-minus. Avery Bradley was minus-11, David Lee minus-9, Jae Crowder minus-7, Tyler Zeller minus-7, and Marcus Smart minus-6.
Although they have only played two games, Brad Stevens may have to begin rethinking his starting front court. With Lee and Zeller on the floor, Boston has been unable to put together any consistent offense or consecutive defensive stops. The two are currently the worst on the team with regard to overall plus-minuses.
However, not all was bad in the front court, as Amir Johnson had yet another strong game. In only 19 minutes, he went 3-3 from the field, and finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Furthermore, Kelly Olynk was showed very little rust in his return. Other than Thomas, he was the only Celtic player to finish with a positive plus-minus. In only 17 minutes of play, he had 11 points on 4-10 shooting.
The Raptors were led by Demar DeRozan, who finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, as well DeMarre Carroll's 21 points.
The Celtics are now 1-1, and will look to get back on track Sunday at home versus the Spurs.