Entering Friday, the Boston Celtics had only four games left in the season and had already lost twice to East contenders in the bubble. Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors was the team’s last chance to show some real life before the postseason began.
They did a lot more than just show life.
With a 122-100 beatdown of Toronto, the Celtics showed they could very much be a threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs, against a team they could see as early as the second round.
Celtics dominated early
Leading 21-14 after the first quarter and 52-37 at halftime, the Celtics had the Raptors locked down from the start. Toronto star Pascal Siakam finished with only 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting, and point guard Kyle Lowry had 11 points with more turnovers (three) than assists (two).
Jaylen Brown was the star for the Celtics, though six other players scored in double digits. Brown finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and six rebounds while showing off some strong defense.
If we wanted to sum up the game with a single clip:
Whhewwww this transition pass by Jaylen (and the iso d on Siakam) pic.twitter.com/3xRBRQywr1— Max Carlin (@maxacarlin) August 8, 2020
The Celtics now sit at 46-23 and third place in the East. Their three remaining games are against the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards, who are a combined 3-12 in the NBA bubble.
If current standings hold, it will be the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round for the Celtics, then likely the Raptors in the second round barring an all-time choke job against a shorthanded Brooklyn Nets team. Things might not be so easy then, but the Celtics can at least say they were 3-1 this season against their fellow East contender.
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