Boston (9-6): 123-Toronto (12-4): 116
Kyrie Irving: 43 PTS 11 AST 3 STL
Jayson Tatum: 21 PTS 7 REB 2 STL 1 BLK
Gordon Hayward: 15 PTS 5 REB 5 AST
Kawhi Leonard: 31 PTS 15 REB 4 AST 3 STL
Serge Ibaka: 21 PTS 4 REB 1 STL/BLK
Pascal Siakam: 16 PTS 9 REB 4 AST
I’m operating on some very poor wifi and limited data so please bear with me. Last night Kyrie Irving and I were both in our proverbial bags. To be honest, Kyrie was WAY deeper in his bag than I could ever imagine and he was simply incredible. He wouldn’t let the Celtics lose this one and this has to be one of his best games in green. The Celtics finally came out with some purpose and looked locked in from the beginning. They showed the fire and the passion that we’ve been used to with this team and it was all on display. The first quarter basically was just the “Kyrie Irving did a bunch of stuff” quarter as he had 12 points on 5-7 shooting. He was swerving through the lane and nobody on the Raptors could do anything about it. The good news for the Raptors was that Kawhi also was locked in potting 8 points along with a couple of boards and assists in the quarter. Whenever he got going the Raptors got going and it was fun to watch him and Kyrie go tit for tat on offense. Serge Ibaka (once again) gave the Celtics a hard time as his ability to space the floor while being able to make things happen in the paint was a tough combo to deal with. The second went by and it was the definition of a rock-fight. The teams combined for 18-55 from the floor as they went into the half at 54-52 in favor of Boston.
As the second half came around the Celtics ended up falling behind a bit due to some lazy play and poor defense. They trailed 78-68 with 3 minutes left in the third and they couldn’t afford to get down any more if they wanted to win it. Tatum got going in the quarter from mid-range/three. Fast-forward to the fourth quarter and it was evident the game would go down to the wire. It was one of the most electrifying quarters of the season in regards to how the two teams went at it. Specifically, our close personal friend, Kyrie Irving. He was 7-10 in the quarter as he had an explosion on offense scoring 19 points in the quarter. It essentially became Kyrie versus the Raptors and Kyrie was holding it down. Nobody on the Raptors had an answer for him and Kyle Lowry was looking around wondering where it all went wrong on the defensive end. The game went to the final possession after the Celtics tied it up at 107 with 24 seconds left. A great defensive possession from the green led to a highly contested fadeaway from the short corner from Kawhi that didn’t fall. We went to OT and the garden was alive. In my opinion this game was the loudest it’s been this season and it felt like a playoff game. Kyrie continued his dominance in overtime. As a team the Celtics went 6-6 from the floor in overtime and it was a delight to see. These dudes were not messing around. When this starting lineup is operating how they were last night then the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league. It was one of those Kyrie games where you see him put any shot up and you just know its nothing but net. The Celtics kept the lead and took down the Raptors 123-116 for a final in overtime.
- Efficiency was a theme for Kyrie in this game. 11 assists on only 3 turnovers coupled with an 18-26 showing from the field.
- Al Horford was a difference maker on the defensive end as he held it down in the paint and had a couple of huge blocks down the stretch
- Jayson Tatum again takes over a game for a stretch of time and looks like the best player ever. He got going in the third and for a few minutes couldn’t miss which gave the Celtics a huge advantage having him and Kyrie going at the same time.
- Gordon Hayward logged 39 minutes and it was his best showing of the season. He facilitated, played well on defense, and also gave the Celtics some scoring in what was a really solid effort by Gordon.
- Finally, we see the fight and talent of the Celtics on display at the same time. They were the most locked in we’ve really seen them all season. They knew this was a big game and took care of business.
Player of the Game: Kyrie Irving
This man was an automatic point last night. Efficiently dominant is what I would describe his performance as. When he’s going how he was nobody can stop him and it doesn’t matter who is defending him. The shots he’s taking are going in and we saw that over and over again last night. He carried the Celtics on his back and I expect his stretch of hot play to continue (28.5 ppg on 55.6% shooting and 2.4 steals in his last 8 games) and for the Celtics to go on a winning streak. It’s time they play up to their potential and hopefully they’re starting to figure it out. They need some wins in a top heavy eastern conference that will be a great race come April. Irving is the superstar of the Celtics and he had it all on display in a dazzling performance.
Right back at it tonight 11/17 at home versus the Jazz (7-8) at 7:30 ET.
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