Defense leads the way as the Celtics take down the Raptors 104-88

Just a few weeks after an embarrassing home opener left Celtics fans booing during a loss to the Raptors, Boston returned the favor to Toronto with a wire-to-wire 104-88 win.

The Celtics (5-6) jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead that they would never give up. Boston was able to limit Toronto (6-6) from distance as the Raptors went only 6-25 (24%) from the three-point line.

Behind rookie Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby, the Raptors were able to make things interesting late as they cut a 15-point halftime lead all the way down to eight in the fourth quarter. Thanks to Jayson Tatum’s game-high 22 points and Dennis Schroeders late efforts, the Celtics held off the Raptor flurry with relative ease.

Without Jaylen Brown, Josh Richardson was able to step up and provide offense off the bench. The Raptors bench as a whole combined for 15 points while Richardson alone put up 15 off the Boston pine.

Next up for the Celtics is a national TV matchup on Friday, as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here is a look at how each of the Celtics’ key contributors played on Wednesday:

Jayson Tatum

Nov 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) and forward Pascal Siakam (43) defend against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) in the second half at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It took 24 shots to get to 22 points for the Celtics all-star, but it was an all-around solid performance. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and dished out a game-high 7 assists. Although he struggled from two-point land, the Duke product did a little bit of everything to help lead Boston to a needed win.

Al Horford

Nov 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was a relatively quiet night for Horford, who finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds while ending up with the lone negative Celtics plus/minus. The Horford and Williams pairing, however, continued to work for the Celtics defensively.

Robert Williams III

Nov 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) is congratulated by fans after the Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors in the second half at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors biggest weakness could be their lack of a true center, and Williams was able to take advantage on both ends. After talking about how the Celtics needed a revenge game against Toronto, the Texas A&M product backed up his talk with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while leading the charge defensively.

Marcus Smart

Nov 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts after guard Josh Richardson (8) basket against the Toronto Raptors in the second quarter at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It was a vintage Smart game, as the Celtics wing helped to shutdown the Raptors offense while adding 13 points and 6 assists. He also finished with a game-high 3 steals.

Dennis Schroder

Nov 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schroder (71) drives the ball against Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa (5) in the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In Jaylen Brown’s absence, it was on Schroder to step up and be the secondary scorer behind Tatum. That’s exactly what he did on Wednesday, finishing with 20 points on 8-15 from the field and connecting on a pair of threes to help lead the Celtics to a bounce back win.

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