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Udoka on Celtics’ shorthanded loss to Raptors: “love the fight, love the effort”

Boston dropped a tough overtime loss in Toronto on Monday night, but the game was indicative of how far this team has come over the last three months.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have come back down to earth. After a five-game winning streak, the C’s fell to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, 112-115. However, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Robert Williams all sidelined, the shorthanded Celtics put up a great fight.

Boston took the Raptors, who are 8-2 in their last ten games, to overtime in one of the most entertaining games of the season. Unlikely contributions from guys like Aaron Nesmith and Sam Hauser added to a well-rounded performance that ultimately fell just short.

After the contest, head coach Ime Udoka said that while he was proud of his team for how hard they fought, he still thought they could’ve taken home the victory.

“So, I said to the group, ‘hell of a job fighting on the second night of a back-to-back short-handed. But there were a lot of things we left on the table, kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Love the fight, love the effort.’ We had our chances and gave the group props for that.”

Udoka went on to note the rebounding, turnovers, and shot differential issues as the main catalysts that cost the C’s the game. Toronto killed Boston on the glass, as both of the Celtics’ starting big men were absent.

Marcus Smart also chimed in on the game. When asked about how tough the loss was, he said that the team is focusing on a more positive outlook.

“Obviously, we wanted to win, but we understand we were short-handed, played last night, traveled, came here, called guys up… It was a tough game. So you know, the fact that we did what we did and had chances. I’m proud of us.”

Smart finished the game with a team-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists. The point guard shot 10-of-25 from the field and 2-of-11 from three-point range.

He also went on to give Robert Williams a shoutout, stating that the Celtics big man, who is set to miss several weeks with a torn meniscus, would want them to keep their heads up and fight for every win.

“We know Rob wouldn’t want us to hold our heads. And we’re not going to do that. We still have other guys that’ve been waiting for their turn to step up if that’s the case. And that’s just what it is. “

Boston will have a chance to get back on track on Wednesday night when they take on the Miami Heat in a game that will have major implications in regard to the standings. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN.