Seven thoughts from Scottie Barnes for the big night as Toronto Raptors blast Celtics on the road

Seven thoughts from Scottie Barnes for the big night as Toronto Raptors blast Celtics on the road

Talk about a rebound performance!

The Toronto Raptors quickly erased a disappointing first game of the season to respond emphatically with a resounding victory over the Boston Celtics.

The Raptors silenced the TD Garden crowd on Friday night, beating the Celtics 64-36 in the second half to escape with the 115-83 victory.

Here are some thoughts as the Raptors improve to 1-1 this season.

Scottie Barnes domine

Watching this game, it was impossible to believe it was Scottie Barnes’ second game of career. The Raptors’ top draft pick impressed in the preseason, but that performance was bordering on dominance.

Barnes filled the box scoring to finish with 25 points, 13 rebounds and two of 11 assists for 17 shots from the floor. The 25 points led all players on the pitch, with the 20-year-old scoring on all three levels throughout the night.

It was Barnes’ passing that dazzled in his Raptors debut, and although he recorded just two assists on the evening, he provided one of the highlights of the game with that sizzling penny without look at Boucher under the basket.

It’s no wonder he quickly became a fan favorite.

Jaylen Brown se débat

We’ll get more of the Raptors’ defensive impact a bit later, but it’s worth noting Jaylen Brown’s struggles.

After a massive night at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Brown struggled to score just nine points on a 3-on-13 shot.

Perhaps fatigue set in for Brown, as he finished 0-for-7 in depth as OG Anunoby and Barnes spent time on him throughout the game.

Nick Nurse changes the starting lineup

On opening night, the Raptors went with the starting backcourt of Fred VanVleet and Goran Dragic.

That experience only lasted one night, with Gary Trent Jr. in the starting squad for the game in Boston.

Trent Jr. responded, finishing with 20 points on a 7-on-13 shot.

Playing his second season with the Raptors, Trent Jr. saw a significant increase in his score and efficiency when he was used as a starter last season. With Pascal Siakam still on the sidelines, the Raptors can benefit from the scoring bump he can provide.

Take care of the ball

After slipping behind 20-12 in the first quarter, the Raptors got to work.

It wasn’t always easy sledding for Toronto up front, but they had their greatest success opening the transition by forcing turnovers.

The hallmark of this team will be their defensive versatility and the turnover was pretty nice if you are a Raptors fan.

Boston made 25 turnovers against the Raptors 11. Five separate Toronto players had multiple steals, led by Trent Jr. with four and VanVleet with three.

Become small and have fun

Many have wondered if / when Chris Boucher or Khem Birch will enter the starting lineup.

For now, Nurse is sticking with Precious Achiuwa as five nominal, and for tonight at least, it has worked wonderfully.

Achiuwa is feverish on glass and his aggressiveness in running the floor and finishing with authority has become contagious. Achiuwa recorded a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds on the night.

Dragic watch

As mentioned, Dragic stepped on the bench for this contest, which is far from an unknown role for the veteran.

He only played 12 minutes, however, totaling five points and an assist.

Svi Mykhailiuk managed 14 minutes off the bench, but it’s fair to suggest that the glowing nature of the scoreboard may have contributed to this.

And after?

No time to rest for the Raptors, as they return home to meet the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. Toronto will look for its first home win since the 2019-20 season. The tip is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its clubs.


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