By: Evan Singleton
The Boston Celtics have now extended their win streak to 12 games after taking down the Toronto Raptors 95-94 in the TD Garden. The game went back and forth for quite some time, but in the end, the green team was able to grind out a very impressive win.
This morning I put together my usual Keys to the Game article, and I am pleased to say that the Celtics were more than able to accomplish about 2.5/3 of the keys I had indicated.
First off, the GBos Player(s) of the Game: Al Horford and Marcus Smart
Horford came into this game after missing the previous couple. However, that did not appear to affect him whatsoever. Horford did not miss a beat as he scored 21 points (yet again proving my Horford Theory). But Big Al is not the only player deserving of the GBos Player of the Game award. Marcus Smart was phenomenal. He tallied 14 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals along with many other defensive plays. Smart also lead the way for the Celtics with a +/- of +11 in 32 minutes of play.
The C's came out looking good. Almost as if they were much better than the Raptors even without Irving. However, towards the end of the 1st quarter the Raptors were gaining momentum.
Toronto went into halftime with a 5-point lead over the Celtics. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen had combined for 26 points in support of the Raptors lead.
But just like the Celtics' control early on, that Raptors lead quickly dwindled and the Celtics took command of the game by the end of the 3rd quarter. This was much in thanks to Terry Rozier's off-the-bench contribution. As he had 12 points heading into the 4th.
Now, again, theme of this game... NO LEAD WAS SAFE. The Celtics lost the lead in the 4th quarter, but I believe the below play was the pivot point. Down by a single point, Daniel Theis makes a great block and Rozier finishes it on the other end. The place went wild.
The Celtics finished the Raptors off, making play after play. Jaylen Brown, who had been pump faked out of the building all game long by DeRozen, finally buckled down and solidified the Celtics victory.
It should also be noted that the Raptors had more than a few opportunities to win this game, but they couldn't pull it off. So, just to top it all off, if you are a Raptors fan... just know that your team "lost" that game just as much as the Celtics won it.
Photo: USA TODAY