LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Boston Celtics clearly have the components to create issues for the Toronto Raptors.
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart every scored 21 factors, Kemba Walker added 18 factors and 10 assists and the Celtics by no means trailed on the way in which to beating the Raptors 112-94 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal sequence on Sunday.
The Celtics improved to four-1 towards the Raptors this season — no different staff has crushed the reigning NBA champions greater than twice — and each of their conferences within the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World have been one-sided.
“You got a team like Toronto, the defending champs, a really, really good team and they know what it takes … you have to be locked in even more,” Smart mentioned. “And that’s just (what) we try to come out and do.”
Toronto is Zero-2 towards Boston at Disney, dropping by a mixed 40 factors and never main for a single second in these two video games. The Raptors are 11-Zero at Disney towards everyone else.
Jaylen Brown scored 17 factors and Daniel Theis completed with 13 factors and 15 rebounds for Boston, which is 5-Zero on this postseason — although Celtics coach Brad Stevens dismissed any notion that management of the sequence has been secured.
“We’re not even in the ballpark of doing that yet,” Stevens mentioned. We received one recreation.”
Kyle Lowry had 17 factors for Toronto, which bought 15 from Serge Ibaka, 13 from Pascal Siakam on a day the place he was slowed massive-time by early foul hassle and 12 from OG Anunoby. The Raptors have been outscored 51-30 from three-level vary.
Lowry mentioned the toll of the occasions of current days and weeks, together with the three-day stoppage of play final week in response to the taking pictures by police in Wisconsin of Jacob Blake, a Black man, is weighing closely on gamers.
“Basketball all the time issues, however on this state of affairs, right now, it is taking a backseat,” Lowry said. “Yes, it is our job and we’ll go on the market and carry out on the highest stage we will presumably carry out at. There’s no excuses, however now we have an obligation proper now to make use of our platform. That’s why we’re nonetheless right here.”
Toronto has misplaced 4 video games by greater than 15 factors this season — three of them towards Boston. The Celtics received by 22 on Aug. 7, 18 on Sunday and 16 on Christmas Day. The different was a 20-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 11.
The closing moments of the second and third quarters gave Boston massive lifts.
Toronto had the ball, down by 12, with 32 seconds left within the first half when Tatum intercepted a cross and bought free for a dunk — adopted by a cease on the different finish and Walker hitting a three-pointer on the buzzer for a 59-42 halftime lead.
Down by 13 late within the third, Toronto could not management a rebound and prolonged a Boston possession with three.1 seconds left. Tatum hit a baseline jumper as time expired, and the lead was 88-73 going into the ultimate 12 minutes.
“Tough day for us, proper?” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Nothing was a lot enjoyable on the market immediately.”
Celtics: Boston has now received seven consecutive Game 1s, the longest such streak for the Celtics since taking 11 consecutive 1-Zero sequence leads between the beginning of the 1985 playoffs and the 1987 NBA Finals. … Theis had 15 rebounds, whole, within the first-spherical sweep of Philadelphia.
Raptors: Toronto trailed 39-23 after one quarter, the sixth-worst level differential in a span of 547 quarters — together with playoffs — performed by the Raptors going again to Jan. 16, 2019. … The Raptors have misplaced Game 1 in 14 of their final 18 sequence.
No Raptors starter reached double digits in scoring till 1:26 remained within the third quarter. By then, 4 Celtics starters have been in double figures and the fifth — Theis — was already as much as 14 rebounds.
As was the case Saturday, the NBA paid pregame tribute to the current deaths of former participant Clifford Robinson, Hall of Fame coach Lute Olsen and beloved actor Chadwick Boseman with a pregame second of silence. The Raptors and Celtics knelt for that second and the playings of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” that immediately followed. The tribute and anthems took just over four minutes. “It was very unhappy to see him depart us so early,” Ibaka mentioned of Boseman.
Game 2 is Tuesday.
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