Quick Reaction: Raptors 125, Celtics 122 (2OT)

Never underestimate the heart of a champion. The Raptors will live to fight another day after a tough game 6 double overtime win over the Celtics.

TOR Raptors125Final
Box Score
122BOS Celtics

P. Siakam54 MIN, 12 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 5-19 FG, 0-5 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 12 +/-

It was another rough scoring performance for Siakam, and the energy as a whole was lacking. While the Raptors made more of an effort to get him the ball in movement, the Celtics collectively walled off the paint against him and effectively slowed him. I’d like to see Siakam take another step in his passing on the move.

A disappointing performance from Siakam in a game when he was needed, but the defensive energy in overtime was there, including several impressive stops against Tatum.

And he still finished a team best +12.

O. Anunoby49 MIN, 13 PTS, 13 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5-11 FG, 2-3 3FG, 1-4 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 2 +/-

OG is a bad man and I adore him. We continue to see OG expand his game and attack in small bursts off the dribble. He scored 6 of the Raptors first 7 starting with a free throw off a drive, followed by an offensive rebound/put-back after spinning by Theis, and then a step-back 3 over Jaylen Brown. With his teammates struggling early it was OG who once again provided stability and exceeded his usually role.

While his scoring and defence (and of course the shot in game 3) have gotten the headlines, and underrated part of his game has been his rebounding. OG has really improved in this area, reading the ball well off the rim and using his physicality to create the space.

OG has been the most consistent Raptor this series, at least in regards to role achievement. He has been the anti-Norm.

M. Gasol15 MIN, 8 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-7 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 5 +/-

The Raptors are a different team when Gasol is hitting 3s. Entering game 6 Gasol was 0-for-9 from deep entering tonight’s game and the Celtics were largely able to ignore him on offenc beyond his passing. Tonight he broke out in a big way (for him) in the third quarter hitting two big threes as the Raptors took some control of the game for a stretch. Foul trouble took him out in the fourth and Nurse opted to go small down the line which limited his minutes overall.

K. Lowry53 MIN, 33 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 12-20 FG, 6-10 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 3 +/-

Lowry did what he could. He forced the action, attacked on offence to exploit his mid-range jumper, and tried to carry the team. It was a solid Lowry performance. Getting to watch the best player in franchise history go to work on a nightly basis has been a joy. He continues to provide what the Raptors need, including pivotal shots and forced turnovers down the stretch. He is an icon and put the team on his back.

F. VanVleet50 MIN, 21 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 7-22 FG, 3-13 3FG, 4-4 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

Marcus Smart shooting better than Fred VanVleet has been a deathblow for the Raptors. The length of the Celtics has certainly bothered him, just like the 76ers series last year, but I also don’t like how the Raptors often used him to initiate the offence despite the match-up.

Despite some struggles in the first half Fred went on a mini 9-0 run himself to help lift the Raptors into the lead.

While the efficiency wasn’t there, Fred did contribute in other ways adding 9 rebounds and a team best 7 assists.

N. Powell38 MIN, 23 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 6-11 FG, 3-6 3FG, 8-9 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Without hyperbole Norm has had the most disappointing series for the Raptors. He has looked lost on defence, uncertain on offence, and inactive in every aspect of the game. Through 4 quarters it was much the same for Norm, and yet Nurse rode him down the stretch and he played both overtimes in full.

Big shot, key swipes, driving to the lane for an and-1…Norm was a central figure in the Raptors escaping with the overtime victory. Would have been nice though if he didn’t help dig the hole earlier.

S. Ibaka21 MIN, 13 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 3-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, -9 +/-

I have no idea how hurt Ibaka’s ankle actually was, but seeing him tough it out and play was great to watch. He recorded two blocks in his first defensive possession to force a jump ball. While it was a general team philosophy for huge chunks of the game, Ibaka played majority of his minutes in the middle of a zone defence.

The Raptors desperately needed his first half shooting. Ibaka was hitting 3s when no one else seemingly could.

M. Thomas6 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

The dude works hard on defence which at least limits his natural shortcomings, and the attention he drew helped open things up a little. Would have liked to see the Raptors create more plays for him specifically with others struggling. Should have at least gotten to take every shot that went to Norm.

Nick Nurse

He messed around with different defensive strategies switching between different zones (including plenty of Box-and-1 against Kemba) and dared Celtics other than Kemba and Tatum to beat them. And they did for significant stretches.

My biggest gripe with Nurse is the lack of touches for Lowry in overtime. He continually went to other people while Lowry was the hot-hand. But I also heavily doubted his decision to keep Norm on the floor and Powell proved Nurse right in overtime.

Nurse was dancing around the entire night, alternating between running the sideline and squatting. I’ll give him credit for trusting the small unit to close it out and shortening the rotation. He out coached Brad “Wonderbread” Stevens tonight.

Things We Saw

  1. I hate the Celtics. Always have. So with that caveat clear, it’s tough not to like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They are impressive people off the court and amazing competitors on it. And despite my Celtics hate I love watching those two play basketball.
  2. Tonight was another lesson in what not to do. We do not underestimate the heart of a champion. This game will be remembered for years.

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