In their final preseason contest, the Boston Celtics dropped a close game against the Toronto Raptors, losing 137-134 in overtime. It wrapped up an otherwise successful preseason slate, with Boston falling to 2-2 in their four games.
The game was a classic duel between… Derrick White and OG Anunoby? Both were on fire in the first quarter, dropping 14 and 20 points, respectively. White got most of his work done from the corner three-point office (a la Grant Williams), ending the game 5-for-6 from distance.
Jaylen Brown hangs and finds Derrick White in the corner for 3️⃣— NBA (@NBA) October 14, 2022
*Peep the footwork * pic.twitter.com/CUtwKnuy7F
And while White cooled off as the game went on, Anunoby (32 points) remained hot for Toronto. He and Scottie Barnes (25 points) put the Raptors on their backs, with rookie Christian Koloko dropping a solid 12 points off the bench, too.
Boston’s stars got in the mix as well. Jaylen Brown continued his impressive preseason performance, scoring an efficient 23 points. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum pulled things back after a slow start, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
However, the stat line wasn’t the story for Tatum. The superstar was whistled for a foul late in the third quarter, didn’t like the call, and was ejected for his reaction. It was his second technical foul of the ball game, and it ignited a wild sequence of events.
In the aftermath of the call, Williams picked up a technical foul while trying to argue in Tatum’s defense. And while all that was happening, Tatum didn’t even know he got called for a tech. When he came to the realization, he was in such disbelief that he didn’t leave the floor in a timely manner, which earned him a delay of game warning - Boston’s second of the game, good for a third technical foul in a row.
The Celtics were given three consecutive technical fouls. Jayson Tatum has been ejected. pic.twitter.com/dx2bBVGGiC— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 15, 2022
Boston was also unable to escape the game without a couple of injury scares. Malcolm Brogdon exited at halftime due to leg soreness. However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe noted that the injury is not serious, and if it were a regular season game, he would have returned.
In addition, Marcus Smart seemed to hurt his leg in the first half. Then, late in the fourth quarter, Smart fell to the floor in a heap, grasping his leg. Centre Bell in Montreal was built for hockey, meaning the court was placed over the ice. There were multiple wet spots all over the court by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Smart got up and walked away under his own power immediately afterward, but it was enough of a scare for Joe Mazzulla to pull the starters for the remainder of the contest.
Before that, however, Mazzulla was determined to play this game as if it were a regular season contest. That was his goal ahead of the matchup, and outside of Tatum’s ejection, he succeeded. All five starters played roughly 30 minutes.
This game did show a glaring weakness in the Celtics’ lineup outside of the rebounding. Boston struggled to corral rebounds at times last year, and they got out-boarded by Toronto by a wide margin in this one. The Raptors finished with 22 offensive rebounds. If Boston is going to play small ball, which they seem intent on doing, crashing the glass will be essential.
Boston opens their season at home on Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST on TNT.