The Boston Celtics had a golden opportunity to take sole possession of 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, but DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors never backed down and came out on top with a 114-106 win.
The first quarter of this game was extremely boring to watch as both teams weren’t able to generate any offense and Toronto held a small 23-18 lead going into the second. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the floor but the Celtics were worse shooting only 33 percent, including 2 of 9 from 3 point range.
Boston picked up the pace in the second quarter and were able to knock down 16 of their 22 shots and forced 11 turnovers to take a 55-46 halftime lead. Marcus Smart, who was starting in place of Avery Bradley, led all scorers with 14 points and Gerald Green also helped out off the bench with 9 points in the quarter.
The Celtics carried their momentum into the third quarter and hovered around a double digit lead as big as 16 points throughout the quarter, but Toronto ran the table in the final two minutes. After being held to only 10 points in the first half, DeMar DeRozan dropped 19 points in the third quarter alone to lead his team on a 12-4 run to end the quarter and trim the Celtic lead to 4 points.
Boston tried to get some of their momentum back in the final quarter, but the Raptors maintained momentum as DeRozan continued to carry them. Toronto went on a 9-0 run and ended up taking a 104-102 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the game and just continued to dominate through the final couple of minutes.
DeRozan finished the game with 41 points and 13 rebounds and was extremely clutch, playing his best portion of the game in the final two quarters. Kyle Lowry helped out with 24 points and 9 assists and Jonas Valanciunas was a beast on the boards finishing the game with 18 points and a huge 23 rebounds.
Isaiah Thomas was the top scorer for the C’s with 27 points. Al Horford (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (16 points) played decent as well, while Gerald Green (14 points) and Kelly Olynyk (13 points) helped out off the bench. Avery Bradley was certainly missed tonight as his defensive eliteness could have made a huge impact in guarding DeRozan.
Ultimately the Celtics weren’t able to turn in a late clutch performance like they usually do and ended up losing in deflating fashion. Boston will look to bounce back Wednesday night against a tough Washington Wizards team while the Raptors will look to stay hot against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.