As the clock ran out, Jayson Tatum dribbled the ball throughout midcourt with a glance of reduction on his face.
This was a recreation the Celtics simply may have misplaced, and possibly would have final season. After taking a commanding lead, they let it go. Their offense instantly went lacking. They performed ugly basketball. They discovered themselves in a canine combat with the Raptors, and trailed with lower than two minutes to go.
But in what’s changing into an early-season theme, the Celtics discovered a means. With the sport tied within the remaining minute, Jrue Holiday discovered Derrick White within the nook, and like he has again and again in crunch time, he delivered. White’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds to go was the distinction because the Celtics escaped with a 108-105 victory over the Raptors.
“I loved our character today,” Kristaps Porzingis instructed NBC Sports Boston. “It wasn’t our best game and nobody was like, hot and going, but I saw some big plays.”
It definitely wasn’t fairly. The Celtics had a 16-point lead after a dominant second quarter and blew it. Tatum had his worst offensive evening of the season, scoring simply 17 factors on 8-for-22 capturing, together with 1-for-11 from deep, and the C’s misplaced their offensive rhythm within the second half as Pascal Siakam and the Raptors made an enormous run to take a number of leads. But the Celtics made massive performs when it mattered to win their fifth consecutive recreation. It additionally pushed them to 2-0 within the In-Season Tournament.
The Celtics went 16-for-46 from 3-point vary, a mark that will have doomed them in a number of spots final season. But Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has made an emphasis this season to not let dangerous capturing nights be the rationale for losses.
“It was the first time all year where we just weren’t the best version of ourselves, but that’s going to happen, especially with 70 games left,” Mazzulla instructed reporters in Toronto. “But I liked the way we just chipped away at it. … We had to learn a lot of stuff and we haven’t had that this year, so it was good that we were able to go through that.”
The Celtics began the sport poorly because the extra energetic Raptors took an early eight-point lead, however they responded with an enormous second quarter. Holiday and Jaylen Brown guided the C’s as they flipped the sport. They took a 65-49 halftime lead due to a 15-3 closing run, capped when Holiday made a stupendous play that in the end completed with Tatum’s 3-pointer on the buzzer.
Tatum, who had missed his first six makes an attempt from deep, put his arms within the air as if to say, “Finally.” The Celtics regarded as if they’d run away with one. But the Raptors didn’t have Siakam for the ultimate 16 minutes of the primary half as a result of he picked up three early fouls, and so they didn’t give up. One of the worst 3-point capturing groups within the NBA, the Raptors hit 4 photographs from deep within the first two minutes of the second half. And because the C’s stored bricking photographs, they’d bother containing Siakam, who completed with 23 factors on 11-for-16 capturing.
The C’s misplaced the lead on Jakob Poeltl’s layup with 2:58 remaining within the third. With the momentum firmly in opposition to them on the street, they needed to provide you with well timed responses. Mazzulla acknowledged the second as a educating alternative.
“I wanted us to just feel all of those emotions,” Mazzulla instructed reporters. “Every timeout, that’s all we talked about. We’re not playing great, but we’re still in it. Can we chip away at it? Can we get a couple stops. … We were just able to learn a lot of things and simulate a lot of things that we haven’t been able to simulate yet.”
The Celtics, although they shot poorly, by no means let go of the rope totally. They stayed resilient, and made massive performs all through the fourth quarter because the Raptors stored pushing. Al Horford hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a single sequence. Porzingis got here up with a few massive blocks. They made stops after they wanted them.
And then, the Celtics – who misplaced video games in crunch time frequently final season – had been the higher group when it mattered. Neither Tatum or Brown made a shot within the remaining three minutes, however it didn’t matter, due to the stability this group boasts. The Celtics discovered Porzingis for a few turnaround jumpers that tied the sport, after which after a cease, Holiday discovered White for the massive 3-pointer. The Raptors drew up an ideal play on the following possession, however Scottie Barnes’ 3-pointer was off the mark with 11 seconds left, and the Celtics escaped.
“What I liked about today’s game was we fought back,” Porzingis instructed NBC Sports Boston. “We fought in those moments, especially when the crowd got into it late in the second half. We stayed with it, we made some big shots and at the end we won the game.”
It wasn’t their greatest recreation, however the C’s discovered a means.
That’s going to occur 10 to 12 instances a yr, and we simply gotta construct the instruments of after we’re not, what it seems to be like,” Mazzulla instructed reporters. “It’s only a nice recreation the place we’re lucky sufficient to return away with a win, however we’re in a position to be taught quite a bit and really feel plenty of the issues that we haven’t felt but as a group. …
“So, we’re lucky to win, but if we don’t learn the things that we learned, it’s not going to help us.”
Other notes from the Friday’s win:
– Brown left the sport with a couple of seconds remaining after slipping on the court docket at Scotiabank Arena and he gave the impression to be in discomfort. He instructed reporters after the sport that he could have damage his groin. The court docket was specifically made for the In-Season Tournament, and gamers had been slipping on it all through the sport.
“The floor was unacceptable,” Brown instructed reporters.
– The Celtics moved to 2-0 within the In-Season Tournament, and so they’re the one undefeated group remaining of their Group C. They management their very own future to advance to the quarterfinals of the event with two extra pool video games left – subsequent Friday on the Magic after which on Nov. 28 at residence in opposition to the Bulls.