The Raptors took on the team that many view to be their number one threat in the East, the Boston Celtics. They lost, as Kyrie took over late and the Raptors had no answer.
Here are my takeaways from that game:
1. The Raptors Needed WAY More out of Their PGs
The Celtics got serious production out of their point guard position, with Kyrie dropping 27 points and a career-high 18 assists in 38 minutes, and Marcus Smart (an unassuming 5, 3, and 4) playing some DPOY-level defence on a number of guys, including KAWHI LEONARD.
The Raptors were not quite so effective at the 1, with a lack of production from all three of their point guards. Kyle Lowry put up 10 points in 34 minutes, while Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet put up a combined ZERO.
That could have been the difference in the game, seeing as Wright put up straight 0's in 12 minutes, VanVleet had 2 assists and boards in 18 minutes, and Lowry 10 points, 7 assists, and 6 boards in 34 minutes of play.
2. It was a Good Battle Between the Centers
While the point guards shined on Boston and struggled for Toronto, both teams' center positions had good games.
Serge went for 22 and 10, and Greg Monroe was a rebound away from a double-double, at 11 and 9 in 15 minutes. On the other side of the court, Al Horford showed that he remains one of the best centers in the East, with 24 and 7, and his backup, Aron Baynes, put up 9 and 5 in 14 minutes.
It was Horford who got the last laugh, with his team winning thanks in large part to his dagger threes late in the game that helped Boston pull away to secure the win.
3. Pascal Siakam had his First Weak Showing in a While
Pascal Siakam has been having a breakout season, and is firmly in the conversation for 2018-'19 NBA Most Improved Player. He's been playing consistently well lately, with showings varying between good and great.
Against Boston, Siakam was neither good nor great. He tallied 6 points, 7 assists, and 4 boards in 36 minutes of play. Compared to his season averages, that is decidedly weak.
With a few games to prepare for the Pacers on Wednesday, Siakam can take it easy until he matches up with fellow MIP candidate Domantas Sabonis.
The Raptors will see the Suns at home on Friday, and the Celtics have the Grizzlies at home that same night. The Celtics are hoping to move up in the East, while the Raptors are looking to take the lead in their struggle with Milwaukee for the number-one seed in the conference.