12/28 Recap: Despite Marcus Smart's return, Celtics fall to Raptors 113-97

Tonight, Marcus Smart returned from an unexpected eye infection that held him off the court for some time. Photo via the Boston Celtics on Twitter @celtics. 
Despite the long-awaited return of defensive stud Marcus Smart, the Boston Celtics lost the second night of their back to back to the injury-riddled Toronto Raptors with a final score of 113-97.  An inconsistent game on both sides of the ball from the Celtics attributed to the loss, but perhaps the biggest difference-maker was the differential in rebounds, where the Raptors won the matchup grabbing 53 total as opposed to Boston's 31.

Kemba Walker got off to an aggressive start for the Celtics looking to take it to the rim early on. He finished the night as the leading scorer for Boston with 30 points on 47.8% shooting (11-23). Despite this, it seemed like Boston just could not break the minimum 10 point lead barrier that the Raptors held for the vast majority of the game.
Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had a rocky night after their big duo performance against the Cavaliers just a matter of hours before. Tatum scored just 12 points on 42.9% shooting to go along with 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a game-high 6 turnovers. Brown recorded a similar 17 points with 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 36 minutes.

Gordon Hayward had yet another well rounded night for the C's in his 35 minutes on the court recording a balanced 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. His three-point shooting, however, really contributed to the terrible shooting performances of both the team overall as well as himself. He shot a poor 14.3% from three hitting just 1 of 7 attempts while the team hit just 7 of 32 attempts on the night.

In his return, Marcus Smart had a somewhat effective night in his limited playing time despite his poor shooting percentage and mediocre box score records. In 23 minutes of play, he had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. However, as mentioned before his shooting was far from helpful. Similar to Hayward, he too hit just 1 of his 5 three-point attempts (20%) which played a role in his overall 22% field goal percentage for the game (2-9).

On the other side of the ball, Toronto's starters Kyle Lowry (30 pts, 7asts, 2 stls), Serge Ibaka (20 pts, 10 rebs), Fred Van Fleet (18 pts, 5 asts, 5stls), and Patrick McCaw (18 pts, 8 rebs, 7 stls) all stepped up big for the hospital Raptors who were missing both Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol due to injury. Toronto capitalized on the back to back fatigue Boston most certainly felt in tonight's game, and made sure to get their revenge for the loss they took from the C's at home on Christmas day.

You can check out a full box score of tonight's game here, as well as a highlight reel of the game's top plays down below.

The Celtics will have a couple of days off before their next game in Charlotte against the Hornets, which is set to take place at 3 p.m. this Tuesday (December 31st).

You can follow Thomas Desmond on Twitter @td_654.