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“Obviously right now I’m frustrated because I feel like I could have helped the team more in different areas and that’s on me,” said Gasol, a minus-19 on the night. “But, (if) I give any advice to one of the young players, I’ll try to be as positive as possible with myself and as constructive as possible. And keep working.
But the loss in Game 7, as close as the game turned out, was rooted in the Raptors’ inability to protect the basketball. Toronto, who entered the game with the least turnover of any team in the playoffs, did so an unusual 18 times, leading to 31 points. As head coach Nick Nurse would later say, it was the game, right there.
As expected, Game 7 was a bit of a rambling mess as the Raps and Celtics took turns dominating. Both teams also came in somewhat spent after a long, contested streak in which both coaches rode hard for their starters.
The Celtics quickly took the lead after a 13-0 run. The Raptors responded with a 20-7 run to complete the first quarter and take the lead at the end of the first period.
The Raptors kept the momentum going into the start of the second quarter and increased their lead to seven before a bit of neglect entered their game, leading to seven turnovers and 13 points for Boston.
At the end of the half, that seven-point lead was a four-point deficit.
Fatigue seemed to have a much bigger impact on the Raptors than the Celtics after key players from both teams played for more than 50 minutes in Toronto’s two-time Sixth Overtime win two nights earlier.