Boston Celtics build 40-point lead, overtake Toronto Raptors


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla .– The Toronto Raptors’ worst loss of the season made coach Nick Nurse thankful that he played four more games before the start of the NBA playoffs.The Raptors’ seven-game winning streak – and their hot start in the Walt Disney World NBA bubble – came to a screeching halt on Friday in a 122-100 loss to the Boston Celtics, and Nurse fears some of his key players don’t. I have yet to bounce back after nearly five months off work due to COVID-19.

“I’m not really concerned with some of the main players, but there are a few guys who need to play a little better since the restart and I’m happy we still have four games to kick them off and give them that chance,” L said. ‘nurse. “I don’t care about their work ethic or their conditioning or some of those things, I just need to make them a little more confident, make things happen a little more. ”

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points while Jayson Tatum added 18 points and Kemba Walker finished with 17 points ahead of Boston (46-23), who won the season series 3-1.

There’s a good chance Toronto and Boston will meet for the first time in the playoffs, and if that happens, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has said this resounding victory will be moot.

“This game won’t mean anything if we have that opportunity again,” Stevens said. “It’s a very good team. I thought they missed a lot of open looks and it just wasn’t their night. Our guys played well, but that won’t mean anything in a few weeks. ”

Fred VanVleet scored 13 points to beat the Raptors who were trailing up to 40 points. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Norm Powell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 11 each, while Terence Davis added 10.

Raptors starters – Lowry, VanVleet, Siakam, Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby – shot 3 for 19 from a three-point distance in what Powell called a “funky” night.

“One thing about this team, we always bounce back and we always stay together,” said Powell. “I’m not too worried. ”

The Raptors (49-19) had been the class of recovery in their first three games, never trailing more than six points (against the Los Angeles Lakers). But they came out unusually flat on Friday, scoring just 14 points in the first quarter and trailing 18 points in the second.

The game brought up memories of their 30-point deficit against Dallas in December. The difference was that the Raptors rallied to win this game in the NBA’s biggest comeback in a decade.

There was no late-game heroism against Boston.

“I hate to say it, but I really haven’t learned anything,” Nurse said.

The Raptors’ defense, which had been so strong in their first three games, was a bit slow all night, and when Tatum knocked down a three-point pointer in front of the Boston Celebration Bench with 5:26 in the third , the Celtics have taken a 24-point lead.

The Raptors allowed Boston to score 39 points in the third and when Walker connected from long distance with four seconds left in the third he sent the Celtics into the fourth with a 91-57 lead.

The Raptors face the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in the fifth of their eight qualifying round games.

Toronto’s 20-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in December was their biggest loss this season.

Powell’s four points off the bench were the most scored by a Raptors player in a dismal first quarter that saw them lag 21-14 before the second.

Toronto scored nine three-point attempts in the second quarter, with Chris Boucher’s late-in-game shooting the only one to fall. The Raptors were trailing 52-37 at halftime.

Earlier on Friday, the Raptors announced guard / forward Patrick McCaw was traveling to New York for treatment on Monday on a benign lump in the back of his left knee.

“I think we’ll have to see how the procedure goes on Monday, but what the reading was from (Thursday) night was it’s not that bad, but it needs to be cleaned up a bit,” Nurse said. . “So we’re going to cross our fingers to make sure it goes well and it doesn’t take too long.” ”

McCaw was seeing Dr. Riley Williams at the Special Surgery Hospital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 7, 2020.


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