It was a brick-fest in Boston between 2 teams that didn’t deserve to win, but Jared Sullinger had 25 points and a career best 20 rebounds as the Celtics defeated the Raptors 88-83. Sullinger was the first Celtic since Kevin Garnett in 2007 to record a 20-20 game.
To put it mildly, this game was ugly. The Raptors held Boston to the lowest field goal percentage of any team they had faced this season at 34.5 percent. The Celtics even managed to miss 10 free throws, but as Boston won, the Raptors had their own problems. Toronto shot just 38.5 percent from the field and missed 13 free throws of their own as they set their season low for free throw shooting of 48 percent. The referees called 51 personal fouls and sent the teams to the free throw line a combined 61 times helping to eliminate any flow this game might have developed, an ugly game indeed.
“It’s the first stinker we’ve had,” Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey said.
Where the Raptors looked absolutely brutal in the third quarter, giving up 28 points and only scoring 15, the Celtics looked just as bad in the fourth when Toronto outscored them 27-15. Boston only scored in double-digits in the fourth quarter because they made 7-8 free throw attempts over the final 29 seconds as Toronto had to extend the game by fouling.
However, there were some brilliant individual performances that unfortunately didn’t last long.
Avery Bradley scored 14 second quarter points to help stake the Celtics to a first half lead and Sullinger had 8 second quarter rebounds. Sullinger’s big quarter came in the third when he had 15 points and 8 more boards and the Raptors simply couldn’t control him on the glass.
Sullinger led all scorers with 25 points on 50 percent shooting, Bradley contributing 20 points on 21 shots. Phil Pressey got the start at point guard and had 10 assists without recording a point.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors in scoring with 23 points on 9-22 shooting and 4-9 from the free throw line. Kyle Lowry had the 18 point 12 assist double-double, but shot 6-17 from the field. The Raptors big men, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes all had a rough night, shooting a combined 5-17 from the field for 15 points.
Either team could have run away with this game if they could have bothered to start hitting a few shots with any consistency. Toronto gave up a season high 19 offensive rebounds, 8 of which were grabbed by Sullinger with authority.
Earlier in the day, the Celtics completed a 3-team deal that sent MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for a package of draft picks from the HEAT and the contract of Joel Anthony.
Last week they sent Courtney Lee to Memphis for Jerryd Bayless in another 3-team deal as the Celtics continue to revamp their roster and collect future assets and flexibility. Bayless shot 0-5 for 1 point in the game.
The Celtics play the Lakers next on Friday.
The Raptors return home to face the Timberwolves on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday.
Check out our Raptors Game Info page and Pregame Report.
Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.