Welcome back! And if you’re here for the first time, just welcome!
We already have your pre-game, your post-game, and your quick reactions for every game, but by popular demand (a few people on Twitter) I am bringing my quarterly positives right here in long-form. Rather than try to sum them up in 240 characters or less, I can now expand on what I liked each quarter of the game. If you’re familiar with this format, you’ll know what to expect. If you aren’t, just know that if there is a baby wearing noise-canceling headphones, it counts as a positive and it’s going on the list.
First Quarter Positives:
- The first possession after the Celtics won the tip was a Gary Trent Jr. steal from Al Horford. Nick Nurse mentioned pre-game that he was impressed as of late with Trent’s defensive improvement, and Gary is continuing to prove his coach correct.
- Forcing Jaylen Brown out of bounds for the second Boston turnover in the first 50 seconds.
- Gary Trent Jr.’s defence on Jaylen Brown forced him to kick the ball out to Jayson Tatum, who was immediately doubled and had no choice but to throw up a 3 point shot that didn’t come anywhere close to falling, with the long rebound quickly grabbed by Precious.
- Gary Trent Jr.’s shot selection. He hit a 3 from the top left side of the arch, and on another possession chose to return to the spot he was hot from instead of driving in or moving elsewhere.
- The shots fell eventually for the Celtics, but despite the shooting discrepancies, Boston was held to only 4 points in the first 4 minutes.
- Precious Achiuwa’s decision making when he isn’t getting his usual shots deserves some praise. Rather than trying to take it to the basket, where he has been unlucky thus far, he handed the ball off to Scottie Barnes. On another possession he chose to shoot from 3 rather than drive to the basket.
- A Precious Achiuwa steal and slam.
- Scottie Barnes soaring to the basket like a sweet baby eagle off of a Precious miss.
- Svi Mykhailiuk’s up-fake that scrambled the Boston defence, allowing for Fred to assist Scottie on a make.
- The gigantic lineup, particularly the Montreal Monstars of Chris Boucher and Khem Birch. Multiple misses under the basket eventually fell because of the trio of OG, Khem, and Boucher planting themselves in the paint.
Second Quarter Positives:
- Scottie Barnes’ vertical defence was a problem in the pre-season. Just two games into the regular season and he seems to be figuring it out. On back to back possessions he was tasked with guarding both a driving Jaylen Brown and a driving Al Horford. Both times he was able to correctly place his body to avoid committing the foul.
- The Fred VanVleet strip of Al Horford. Precious anticipated what would happen and it allowed for Fred to push the ball out to him and run the floor, receive the ball from Precious, and pass ahead to Chris Boucher for a basket.
- Payton Pritchard’s pink shoes.
- Precious stripping Boston of the defensive rebound and handing the ball to Scottie to put in.
- Scottie finding his rhythm as a shooter, while still acting as a play-maker.
- Gary Trent Jr. finger roll? Gary Trent Jr. finger roll.
Third Quarter Positives:
- Coast to coast Precious Achiuwa. He seems to have given his head a shake at half-time and came in with a renewed focus.
- Precious quick to contest Jayson Tatum’s 3, leading to a Gary Trent Jr. rebound and subsequent bucket at the other end.
- Scottie Barnes jumper!
- That Al Horford block that led to the Jayson Tatum to Jaylen Brown alley-oop. I know these are supposed to be Raptors positives, but that was nasty.
- Gary Trent Jr. through traffic, make.
- Gary Trent Jr. off the window, make.
- Gary Trent Jr. poking out the steal leading to the Precious dunk.
- Another Gary Trent Jr. finger roll? Another Gary Trent Jr. finger roll.
- Khem cleaning the glass on a Chris Boucher miss. The basket didn’t count, as a foul was called, giving Boucher two free throws, but that chemistry. Tres bien.
- Fred Van Vleet deep 3 after being blocked again. If there’s one thing the boy doesn’t lack, it’s confidence.
- Gary Trent Jr. sinking yet another shot to give the Raptors a 15 point lead.
- Side-step Scottie in transition!
- Scottie on the glass! 21 points!
- Gary Trent Jr. is playing with a new aggression and it has immensely helped the Raptors at both ends.
Fourth Quarter Positives:
- Entering the fourth quarter with a 20 point lead, which quickly became a 23 point lead as Chris Boucher drained a 3 from the corner.
- A quick timeout as the Celtics began to heat up. If you don’t use it you lose it.
- Svi’s minutes have been limited tonight, but impactful nonetheless.
- This ref is JACKED. If he called a foul on you it would probably be wise to just agree.
- Chris Boucher and Khem Birch smothering Al Horford in the paint.
- Scottie’s no look passing is becoming signature and we’re only 2 games in. The one to Chris Boucher in the fourth quarter seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Celtics.
- Scottie bodying his way into a defensive rebound.
- Gary Trent Jr. steal.
- Precious deflecting the ball with his…neck?
- Scottie and Gary both have about a million points each, so now they’re just playing a super fun game of hot potato.
- Scottie grabbing his own rebound. He’s here and he’s perfect!!!
- Malachi minutes! He still goes here!
- Bonga, Champagnie, Banton, Flynn, Mykhailiuk. This is the Raptors 905 lineup that we are being robbed of because they are simply too NBA ready.
Final Score: BOS 83 – TOR 115
Positive Player of the Game: Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. (this is my column and I can do what I want)