There were no OG Anunoby heroics on Monday.
Brutal first half for champs
The Celtics dominated from the outset and entered halftime with a 62-35 lead. They held the Raptors to 11 points in the first quarter. They scored 37 points in the second, two more than the Raptors tallied in the entire first half.
Toronto competed in second half, but the first-half damage was too significant. There was no historic comeback in store, and the Celtics now stand a win away from the Eastern Conference finals.
Head coach Brad Stevens kept his starters in through most of the fourth quarter, ensuring that the Raptors didn’t approach cutting their deficit to single digits. Toronto waved the white flag around the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter, and both teams pulled their starters.
Balanced Boston effort
It was a balanced effort from Boston, which saw six players score in double figures by the end of the third quarter. Jaylen Brown led the way with 27 points, six rebounds and three steals. Kemba Walker added 21 points and seven assists.
It was enough for Boston to weather another subpar shooting performance from Jayson Tatum with no issue. The Celtics star tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, but finished 5-of-15 from the field and 1-of-5 from 3-point distance.
It speaks to the strength of the Celtics, who can look to a number of weapons to take the offensive lead, even without an injured Gordon Hayward. While their offense was humming on a 49.4 percent shooting night, it was their defense that starred on Monday.
Celtics stifle Raptors
Boston limited Toronto to a 38.8 percent effort from the field that included a 12-of-40 (30 percent) performance from 3-point distance. Fred VanVleet was Toronto’s best player Monday, tallying 18 points and five assists on a 6-of-14 shooting effort. Anunoby struggled to seven points on 3-of-11 shooting while Pascal Siakam managed just 10 points and four rebounds.
The two teams meet again for Game 6 on Wednesday as the defending champion Raptors fight to keep their season alive.
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