Prior to the Celtics - Raptors tipoff, Nick Nurse joined media (for media) to talk about the upcoming game, and all of us lil' media members scurried around to collect our quotes. One of them, was about how the Raptors feel they measure up to the Celtics, and if that was important. The Celtics own the best record in the NBA, they're the league's best offense, they have perhaps the MVP favourite on their squad in Jayson Tatum; it's a lot, and why wouldn't you measure yourself to a lot.
"No, for sure it's a measurement game." Coach Nurse said. "I think we totally need to see where we are with these guys. They're obviously the best team in the league right now and record and metrics and numbers and historic this and historic that at both ends and they're playing really good. I think we need to see where we are at."
For Joe Mazzula, the Celtics head coach, this was just a game that he "looks at it like the next game on the schedule." And why not? The Raptors are intriguing, they play to their identity -- most of the time -- and for this game against the Celtics they had their superstar, Pascal Siakam available. None of that, however, makes them a measuring stick team. More so a curiosity. Despite missing, arguably, 3 of their top 7 players (Brogdon, Williams, Horford) the Celtics played to their strengths, hit the shots they needed to, and collected the win.
"I thought we played well, we had a chance to win." said Siakam after the game. He definitely played well, taking on a bunch of different looks from the Celtics in stride and continuing to produce quality looks for his teammates and score the ball to the tune of 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He was sublime, and especially when you account for his defensive performance as well. Siakam continued: "So, and to be honest, like with anybody, I feel like once we focus and everybody's healthy, everybody's playing the way that we know we can play, I don't think I fear anybody really, to be honest. So, we just got to get ourselves together, stay together, and just continue to trust what we do, as long as we put the work in and we continue to work, I believe that we’re gonna be okay."