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Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Celtics 95, Raptors 118

So much fun.

Boston 95 Final
Box Score
118 Toronto

A+
P. Siakam30 MIN, 25 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 10-16 FG, 4-5 3FG, 1-1 FT, 4 BLK, 1 TO, 22 +/-

It’s pretty great that one of the league’s most ambitious rim-runners is spacing the floor at this level. He’s over 50-percent from the corners on his last 50 attempts. He can still iso a player like Irving and embarrass him while getting fouled and his versatility on defense combined with Green/Leonard was a nightmare for the Celtics shot creators. Loved his game tonight, he was everything you want him to be next to a dominant Kawhi/KLOE.

A+
K. Leonard26 MIN, 21 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 9-15 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 12 +/-

The first half belonged to Lowry, but holy moly did Leonard lock down a large part of the third quarter. There wasn’t a guy the Celtics could throw at him and he was creative when passing and brutal when punishing his defensive matchup. One of my favourite games to watch of him in the New Year. Like Siakam, he really shines in a defense that switches everything at the top. He’s SO strong, like that guy with long hair from the Bible, can’t think of the name right now, though.

B+
S. Ibaka20 MIN, 14 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 6-7 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-

It’s pretty clear that he’s at his best next to Lowry (who isn’t?) and we saw him return to the absurd efficiency of the pre-January Raptors, killing teams on the short-roll and chasing away would be rim-runs on the defensive end.

A-
K. Lowry35 MIN, 7 PTS, 6 REB, 11 AST, 0 STL, 2-7 FG, 1-4 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 18 +/-

He unlocked the Raptors in the first half. Even though his shooting numbers were poor, his post-defense on a couple different Celtics allowed the Raptors to really press their switch-defense on the Celtics and that was really effective. He did so much for the offense, stirring the pot and getting everyone the ball just where they like it. Awesome intangibles game from KLOE.

B+
D. Green14 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-7 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

His defense on Irving was so much fun to watch. From the get-go he made Irving want to play the part of creator instead of finisher. Tireless chasing around the Celtics wily guards and hit a couple triples. Quality Green game.

B
J. Lin25 MIN, 8 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

The compete level that Kenny Atkinson alluded too was apparent tonight. There’s still lots to iron out as far as how he’s orchestrating the offense – he’s defaulting to Gasol quite often, which is good. I love the ‘stop and pop’ he uses in the lane, not a lot of players do it. Tonight we saw two players who utilize it in Lin and Irving.

A-
M. Gasol23 MIN, 5 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 2-6 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 18 +/-

Watching him maximize Powell’s fast-twitch athleticism is so satisfying. He does so much for the bench unit, and when he gets staggered with Lowry it’s all the better. I’m not sure how the starter gig will shake out, but it’s clear that he adds tons of value to whichever lineup he joins. His passing was masterful tonight, as was his timing on defense.

B-
O. Anunoby20 MIN, 5 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

Still strong, still dunking everything he gets around the rim. We’re still seeing a fairly laid back version of him and we might continue to see that when he’s not surrounded by really good players. Very happy to see 3-pointers still going up and I’ll always love his 1-on-1 defense.

B
N. Powell18 MIN, 11 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-6 FG, 3-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 17 +/-

Unshackled and no longer required to create off the dribble. Off-ball attacker and energetic defender. This is the look we want for Powell.

B-
P. McCaw13 MIN, 6 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2-7 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

I don’t think he’ll make the playoff rotation and I’m not generally a fan of his minutes, but man, after a stinky 3-minute stint he really turned it around. Infectious energy on defense that was a cog in the 18-0 run in the second quarter. Good show tonight.

B-
J. Meeks7 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

More triples! Probably going to get a second contract.

Inc
C. Boucher5 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Slimm Dunk!

Inc
M. Miller5 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Triples! Would like him to get Meeks minutes.

A+
Nick Nurse

Loved the defensive wrinkle of keeping Lowry in the post and extending more length out to the perimeter. Best mix and match of Gasol/Ibaka yet, and even when he gave McCaw a second stint that didn’t make sense, he was electric. No mistakes from Nurse tonight as far as I’m concerned.

Things We Saw

  1. Games like this should really make the Celtics afraid of this matchup in the playoffs. If Leonard is going to be this mindful as a playmaker, he’s going to shred every player the Celtics send at him. Gasol elevating the back-cutting offense against an extremely eager Celtics defense should also be a major cause for concern. So much to like in this game, and we didn’t even see Siakam ‘D’ up Irving in this one.
  2. Until the rotation gets shortened, Ibaka needs to start. Gasol makes the bench far more valuable as a unit if Nurse is going to keep trying to run all-bench squads. The playoffs will be a whole different scenario, but for now I’d tag Ibaka’s minutes to Lowry. Lowry/Gasol + bench was loads of fun. I like seeing Gasol/Ibaka have a similar minutes spread regardless of who’s starting. Both great players.
  3. Still very impressed with Siakam’s ability to roll-back into a tertiary star. He’s so capable of operating as a focal point that it’s genuinely surprising to watch him torch a team as a legitimate ‘3 and D’ weapon.
  4. Super sharp offense tonight and that starts with Lowry. Very few wasted possessions and a great attention to detail. The term “94-feet of defense” is fun, but Lowry and Siakam unleash 94-feet of offense. Watching Siakam go shoulder to shoulder with a player, jostling and sprinting to get under a post-fade is unreal entertainment, not to mention he generally throws it down at the end of it. Incredible stuff.
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