LAKE BUENA VISTA – Three thoughts on the opening of the Celtics series 112-94 win against the Raptors.
• As the expected series openings go, this was an idiot: The Raptors and Celtics hotly entered the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference. Boston was the only one to stay that way, beating Toronto 112-94 in Game 1 on Sunday. The Celtics went wire-to-wire, building a 19-point lead in the first half that Toronto could not recover from. Jayson Tatum (21 points) and Marcus Smart (21) led the way, two of six Boston players in double digits. On August 7th, the Celtics shot at the Raptors at 22. You almost got there on Sunday
What happened to toronto The raps have played badly in Game 1 in the past, but that was ugly. The vaunted defense of Toronto was destroyed in this case. Boston shot 47% from the bottom and 43.6% from three. Eckdreier were a enormously Problem for the raptors. Boston’s drive-and-kick offensive found shooters wide open in the corners, beaten by Tatum, Smart, Jaylen Brown and Brad Wanamaker. Toronto couldn’t bring up anything of its own behind the bow and finished shooting at 25%. The smaller Celtics outperformed the Raptors (50-40) and matched them in points in color (38). Boston’s central rotation of Daniel Theis and Robert Williams: 23 points, 20 rebounds.
• Paging, Pascal Siakam: How concerned should the raptors be about Siakam? The All-Star striker submitted another clunker, a 13-point attempt (at 5-16 shots). Nick Nurse has allayed concerns about Siakam, but after an uneven stretch of seeding games and an initial round of only one game that shoots over 43%, there have to be some something Concern, concern. The Raptors played through Siakam in the Post, but Boston’s line of strong wing defenders – Smart, Brown and Semi Ojeleye – forced Siakam to hit hard. Nurse Said It: Toronto needs Siakam to be a Sagittarius. He has to do it against a Celtics team that are playing excellent perimeter defense.
• Kemba clock: The Boston Bank gasped collectively as Kemba Walker preferred his left leg after turning it to defend a drive from Siakam. Walker’s knee problems date back to February when he missed the time after the All-Star hiatus. They lingered throughout the break, with the Celtics restricting walkers to a minute limit during the seeding games. Walker shrugged off the injury, started the second half, and finished on 18 points. But this knee was difficult. It’s worth watching how Walker reacts ahead of Tuesday’s second game.