After an unsuccessful two-game trip to Texas, the Celtics returned home to the TD Garden on Wednesday to face off against the Raptors. Toronto came into Boston as the Atlantic Division favorites, sporting a record of 3-1 with its only loss coming on the road in Miami.
The Raptors would take a nail-biter from the Celtics, 110-107, Wednesday night as Jeff Green missed a potential game tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Contributing the most to the Celtics’ third loss would be 27 turnovers for Brad Stevens‘ team. (For a complete box score, click here.)
Here is what we learned in the C’s loss:
The C’s came out blistering hot at home once again, connecting on their first seven field goal attempts and finishing the first quarter shooting 15-for-19 from the floor ‘ good for 78.9 percent.
The Celtics also held a rebounding edge of 14-2 over the Raptors at the end of the first frame, which translated to a 35-23 lead. The only thing seemingly keeping the Raptors in the game was their 12 points off of six Celtics’ turnovers.
THE CELTICS ATTACKED THE RIM
Starting big men Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas were out for the Raptors, and the Celtics clearly took advantage. Right off the bat Boston racked up 16 points in the paint during the first six minutes of the game.
SECOND AND THIRD QUARTER COLLAPSE
The Raptors fought their way back into the game during the second quarter by outscoring the Celtics 31-22. But most of the damage was done late. Toronto finished the quarter by scoring 20 points in the last six minutes of the half to go into the locker room down by just three points.
The Raptors got a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter to finally take the lead, 88-86. Kyle Lowry did most of the damage in the middle quarters; he had 23 points in the second and third periods alone and 31 total heading into the fourth.
RAJON RONDO TRIPLE-DOUBLE
Rondo had been in the neighborhood of a triple-double in all three of the Celtics’ previous games this season, averaging 8.0 points, 8.7 boards and 11.7 assists in those contests. He had his double-double half way through the third quarter with 11 rebounds and 10 assists, allowing Rondo to finally come through with his first triple-double of the season on Wednesday. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and matched a season-high with 15 assists.
STARTERS ALL SCORED IN DOUBLE FIGURES
The Celtics’ starters all contributed a balanced effort across the board in the game led by Jeff Green‘s 20 points. Jared Sullinger had 19, Kelly Olynyk 18, and Avery Bradley 16 to go with Rondo’s triple-double. Sullinger and Olynyk also both had double-doubles with 16 and 13 rebounds, respectively. Marcus Smart also contributed 12 points off the bench, playing key minutes down the stretch.