After coming out to a slow start, Boston came back from a 6-14 deficit to finish the first quarter up 30-26. Jaylen Brown had 8 points on 3-3 shooting in the first.
Sam Hauser started the second quarter with another three… and then another.
Toronto’s big, defensive wings (like OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Chris Boucher, to name a few) made it difficult for Boston to score, particularly in isolation, but ball movement and defense kept the Celtics ahead through the second. The Celtics shot 6-21 from behind the arc in the first half.
Boston took a 55-46 lead going into the break, punctuated by a Jrue Holiday drive and dunk with a few minutes left in the second. Jayson Tatum was the only Celtic scoring in double digits at the half, turning in a quiet 17 points.
Tatum finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, a refreshing performance after scoring 23 and 16 points in his last two outings. He was also a menace on the defensive end, and helped his teammates have great nights on the offensive end.
Boston struggled to keep Toronto center Jakob Poeltl from scoring inside – following a trend of failing to keep up with interior physicality. Poeltl finished with 12 points on 6-10 shooting.
Jaylen Brown continued his streak of solid games, finishing with 29 points and 5 rebounds. Brown and Porzingis were an excellent tandem – as is common for the group this year – in the third quarter, where Brown had 14 points. Porzingis had a solid game himself, with 21 and 7.
Boston couldn’t quite put the Raptors away going into the fourth, starting the final period with an 88-71 lead. Toronto did not score for the first 3 minutes, allowing the Celtics to go up by 25.
The highlight of the night came with 8 minutes left with a Jay-to-Jay alley-oop.
This is one of three Brown dunks in the 4th. It felt like even more.
Tatum and Brown remained in the game until the five-minute mark, when Boston mercifully pulled them and Horford with a 30-point lead.
Coming off of a rest night against the Brooklyn Nets last night, Al Horford looked spry, scoring from outside and in the post.
Pascal Siakam led the Raptors in scoring with 17 points. Former Celtic Dennis Schröder chipped in with 14 points, and the Raptors finished shooting less than 40% from the field and less than 30% from deep.
Raptors forward Scottie Barnes had a disappointing night. The standout third-year player had 10 points on 4-25 shooting.
Raptors’ Gary Trent Jr. was absent from the Raptors’ roster with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Trent has been struggling so far this season, averaging 10 ppg off the bench, but he brings shooting and scoring that Toronto desperately needed tonight.
All in all, Boston had a professional performance and held on to their lead throughout the game, something they were not known for last season or the season before. All three of Boston’s best offensive creators had solid and efficient nights, and Boston held their first opponent this season to fewer than 100 points.
The Celtics remain second in the East (behind the Philadelphia 76ers), but are now tied for the most wins in the conference.
Boston will continue their homestand against the New York Knicks, on Monday at 7:30 pm EST. The Celtics won their first game against the Knicks in the season opener.
After a Wednesday meeting in Philadelphia, the Celtics will face the Raptors again this Friday in Toronto for an In-season Tournament matchup.