The Celtics lost their fifth preseason game of the season 92-89 to the Raptors. After losing to the Raptors last Friday, the Celtics were looking to redeem themselves in Maine. The Celtics never stopped competing and almost came up with an improbable comeback. They scored nine points in the last two minutes just to have Lou Williams steal their glory with a last second three.
The first quarter started out extremely sloppy with a combined 15 turnovers. Smart came off of the bench in an attempt to redeem his performance against Kyle Lowry last Friday, but Lowry was able to take advantage of the matchup early on. Lowry ended the first quarter with 7 points and 3 assists. Marcus Smart picked up two quick fouls and was largely ineffective. Olynyk also picked up two early fouls and was taken out early in the first quarter. No one on the Celtics roster started off particularly well, but it was a welcome sign to see Jeff Green on the floor being aggressive. At the end of the first quarter, the Celtics were down 23-19 in a low scoring contest.
Tyler Zeller was one of the few bright spots in the first half. He thrived in the pick and roll and was able to score 11 points shooting 5/5 from the field. He hit the Raptors with an assortment of both right and left handed hook shots, and the Raptors couldn't really do anything to contain him. He was just as dominant on the defensive end gathering 3 blocks in just the first half. The other bright spot for the Celtics was the point guard play of Evan Turner. As he has done throughout the preseason, he filled the stat sheet with 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in the first half. After being down by as many as 10 points, Turner and Zeller fueled a run to even up the score at 43-43 at the half.
The ugly play continued into the 2nd half. The Celtics had a whopping total of 2 points in the first 8 minutes of the 3rd quarter. Both teams shot poorly, so the fan in me wants to blame the horrendous offensive output on the "rims and lighting" of the location. After scoring 2 minutes in the first 8 minutes of the 3rd quarter, Turner scored the next 7 points for the Celtics before getting ejected. Turner was putting together a solid game before the ejection with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 26 minutes. He was ejected for getting 2 technical fouls for supposedly running his mouth to a referee. After Turner went out, the third quarter went downhill in a hurry. The Celtics closed out the 3rd quarter down 68-56.
The Celtics started off the 4th quarter with a quick 9-0 run to get right back in the game. Unfortunately, both teams figured out how to shoot the ball in the 4th quarter, and the Raptors were able to stave off several small runs by the Celtics. The Celtics were down by 9 with 2 minutes left, and they came up with another improbable 9-0 run sparked by Marcus Smart's effort.
In the end, Lou Williams hit a huge 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to seal the game 92-89, and the Celtics fell in an unpredictable thriller. Jared Sullinger got a good look at a three pointer to tie it up, but he wasn't able to hit it. The Celtics never gave up, but poor shooting in the first three quarters plagued what could've been a great comeback. Regardless, it was nice to see the Celtics put forth a regular season effort during a preseason contest.