By MyFM's Jake Archer - The Celtics got Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris back from injury just in time for a showdown with the Toronto Raptors, but that didn't stop Boston from getting smoked 111-91. It was the second largest loss of the season for the C's and it stopped their winning streak at four games. The Raptors are now only one game behind the Celtics for the first seed in the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie was clearly hampered a bit by the long layoff due to injury, but he still managed to score 17 points in 22 minutes. He did not do much else though as he only registered 3 assists and couldn't quite fill up the stat sheet. "I didn't feel quite as good as I wanted to," said Irving. " Being out for a week in any profession is tough. Hopefully next game will be better."
The Raptors jumped out to an early 22-18 lead after one and then really piled on to go into halftime up 58-37. They were led by star point guard Kyle Lowry who came up with 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. All six of his field goals were three-pointers and he combined with forward CJ Miles for 11 of the Raptors 17 threes. Miles dropped 20 points off of the bench.
Toronto came out early and set the tone for the game while Boston just looked slow and out of it. Lowry got hot and the bench unit for the Raptors played like starters to punish the Celtics. Guards Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet scored 14 and 10 respectively. Starting shooting guard DeMar Derozan also chipped in with 15 for the Raptors.
This pushed Toronto's home winning streak against Boston and overall home winning streak to five games. They are the best team in the NBA on their homecourt this year and that showed with how they came out and took the victory. The game was billed as a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview and it pitted two talented division rivals against eachother. It's tough to know what to take from it however because although Boston was dealing with a less than 100% Irving, they also beat Toronto earlier this year without Kyrie completely.
Most of the Celtics had tough games but Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis did all contribute off of the bench with double digit point totals. Jaylen Brown added 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and a block also. But with Al Horford and Jayson Tatum only combining for 6 points as starters, the struggle was real.
Boston will look to bounce back on the road against another division rival, the Wizards, on Thursday. But the Celtics will certainly keep this game against Toronto in mind as they move forward according to Kyrie Irving, so we'll wait patiently for the remaining two matchups this year.