The Celtics improved to 2-0 of their in-season competitors with a hard-fought 108-105 victory over the Raptors on Friday.
Listed below are the takeaways.
1. The Celtics have gained sufficient not too long ago that we don’t want to start out with the sport. Let’s speak first concerning the courtroom.
The in-season match has produced many cool designs, and the Raptors’ stylish black-and-gold ground seemed nice. At occasions, Raptors gamers have been a bit of complicated to look at since their jerseys matched the ground, however that’s a minor situation.
What the NBA completely can’t enable is a security hazard, and Friday’s courtroom gave the impression to be one. A number of gamers slipped a number of occasions on the ground in ways in which seemed nothing like the conventional sweat spots of an NBA sport. Most annoying: On the final necessary play — an inbounds move for the Celtics with eight seconds remaining — Jaylen Brown slipped and appeared to tug one thing in his groin.
Whether or not or not Brown is okay going ahead is inappropriate (and there’s no guarantee he will likely be). This could’t occur! The league is attempting to indicate potential broadcast companions a enjoyable, well-branded new product, and that’s clearly a optimistic, however doing so can’t put gamers in danger. These particular courts are eye-catching and generate some buzz on their very own, however the tone will shift shortly if gamers begin getting harm, and doubly so if the participant is nearly as good as Jaylen Brown.
The NBA may need one thing percolating with the in-season match. The least the league can do — actually, the least — is ensure that the flooring are protected, and it wants to take action earlier than its enjoyable little side-show match impacts the true factor on the finish of the yr.
2. The Celtics seemed like they have been floundering a bit within the fourth quarter, and Friday’s end result appeared very a lot unsure down the stretch. A few issues occurred that confirmed the Celtics’ resilience and improved roster, nevertheless.
First, the Celtics took benefit of their dimension, forcing a number of uncomfortable switches for the Raptors together with Dennis Schröder (extra on him in a minute) on Kristaps Porzingis because the Celtics traded baskets with the Raptors and saved tempo.
Second, they began executing successfully once more at precisely the correct time after the Raptors sped them up for practically two quarters. With the sport tied within the closing minute, Jrue Vacation backed a defender down and fired a move to the nook, the place Derrick White buried the triple.
The Celtics now not must depend on mismatches or isolation basketball. Mismatches abound in all of their greatest lineups, which suggests easy execution ought to — on virtually any night — lead to an excellent look.
3. Earlier than he received harm, Brown performed a extremely stable sport — a team-high 23 factors on environment friendly 9-for-14 taking pictures, together with a giant layup down the stretch towards Jakob Poeltl. Curiously, Brown appeared to take his matchup with Schröder personally every time he had a possibility to take action. Brown backed his former teammate down with enthusiasm and despatched Schröder packing with one notably emphatic blocked shot.
4. Pascal Siakam did the Celtics an unlimited favor by committing three fouls within the first quarter. To double the problem for the Raptors, Siakam referred to as for a problem on the third one, which the Raptors misplaced (thereby costing them each their problem and a timeout). With Siakam sidelined for a lot of the primary half, the Celtics constructed a 16-point halftime lead.
With Siakam again within the lineup within the second half, the Raptors rallied again and took the lead a number of occasions. He completed the sport +17 although the Raptors misplaced by three.
5. By the way, after seeing Jrue Vacation restrict Julius Randle, Joel Embiid, and numerous different stars who ostensibly could be mismatches, we might have discovered one participant who he struggles to protect. Vacation can push again towards stronger defenders with out situation, however Siakam’s slithery size and contact gave him matches.
Watching a participant get the very best of Vacation’s rock-solid protection was jarring, which is to say it hammered dwelling how elite he has been on that finish of the ground each different evening.
6. Kristaps Porzingis had an enormously impactful sport: 14 factors, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and three blocked pictures. The Raptors attacked him repeatedly, which was gutsy however silly — he performed a giant function in limiting Toronto across the rim. His two-way efficiency has been revelatory this season.
7. Much less nice on the Porzingis entrance: He picked up his seventh technical of the season arguing the shortage of a name within the second half. Earlier than Wednesday’s sport towards the Sixers, Porzingis told reporters technicals are “undoubtedly one thing I’m engaged on.”
“It is a little bit uncharacteristic for me, that many who early, however I wish to blame that on the eagerness,” Porzingis stated. “I’m right here taking part in and having fun with taking part in with this group. … There’s a pair I ought to have averted, and I’ll going ahead.”
Porzingis famous that the technicals he acquired from hanging on the rim have been “nonsense” and whereas we might largely agree, Friday’s name falls into the class that Porzingis most likely ought to have averted. He’s now 9 technicals away from a one-game suspension. The date is Nov. 17.
8. Tatum had an off evening (17 factors and a brutal 1-for-11 efficiency from behind the arc), which flies fully off the radar given each the standard of the win and the truth that seven Celtics gamers scored in double figures to make up the distinction.
Tatum did, nevertheless, dap up Drake postgame.
9. The Celtics at the moment are 2-0 of their in-season match’s group play with some extent differential of +17. They’ve two extra video games of their group stage — one every towards the Magic (who’re good this yr) and the Bulls (who’re imploding). The Celtics lead Group C at 2-0, whereas the Nets are 2-1. The Magic are 1-1, and the Bulls are 0-2.
A win over the Magic would make sure the Celtics will transfer on, however they’re in good standing both approach.
10. Setting apart the in-season match, the Celtics will wrap up their street journey with a back-to-back towards the Grizzlies and Hornets on Sunday and Monday earlier than they return dwelling to arrange for a extremely anticipated showdown towards the new-look Bucks.
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