The Toronto Raptors had a lot to play for on Friday night. They were facing the Boston Celtics, the best team in the NBA so far. They were looking for revenge after getting blown out by them last week. They were also participating in the first-ever in-season tournament, a new feature that added some spice to the regular season.
The Raptors showed some improvement from their previous games, but it was not enough to get the win. They lost 108-105 to the Celtics, who improved to 10-2 and 2-0 in the tournament. The Raptors dropped to 5-7 and 0-1 in the tournament.
The Raptors started the game well, playing with energy and intelligence. They were without O.G. Anunoby, who injured his finger doing some ‘household chores’ last Sunday. But they still managed to keep up with the Celtics, who have a loaded roster with stars like Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.
The Raptors had a rough second quarter, when they allowed the Celtics to score 37 points and take a 12-point lead at the half. But they did not give up. They fought back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to four. They even took the lead in the fourth quarter, thanks to a put-back by Jakob Poeltl with 1:19 left.
But the Celtics had the final say. They tied the game with a jumper by Porzingis, and then took the lead for good with a three-pointer by Derrick White, who was left open in the corner. The Raptors had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer by Scottie Barnes, but he missed. The Celtics sealed the game with free throws.
The Raptors had a lot of positives to take from the game. Pascal Siakam had a season-high 32 points and nine rebounds. Dennis Schroder had 23 points and made five three-pointers. The Raptors shot well from the field and from the three-point line. They also competed hard against a championship contender.
But they also had some negatives to work on. They missed 18 free throws, which cost them the game. They could not stop Zach LaVine, who had 39 points and six rebounds. They also made some defensive mistakes in the clutch.
The Raptors will have to learn from this game and move on. They will have to face the Celtics again on Sunday, in the second game of the tournament. They will also have to prepare for the return of some of their former teammates, who will play against them in Toronto next season.
The Raptors lost the game, but they did not lose their spirit. They showed that they can compete with the best in the league. They also showed that they care about the in-season tournament, which is a good thing for the NBA.