Second half push not enough as Raptors lose first In-Season Tournament Game to Celtics

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Friday, November 17, 2023

The Toronto Raptors had an opportunity for revenge for the thrashing they experienced at the hands of the Boston Celtics on Saturday, November 11th, however, the result of tonight's matchup was the same losing to a score of 108-103. Toronto finally played their first In-Season Tournament game joining the other 29 teams in the association.

First-half struggles have been a common theme for the Raptors in the early stages of their season, specifically their play in the first quarter. It was clear that it was a point of emphasis to come out with more energy, as they led 32-26 after the first 12 minutes of play. It was in the second half where this game would slip away from them.

Pascal Siakam started the game by connecting on his first four shots but would pick up three fouls in the first quarter, preventing him from playing in the second. Boston outscored Toronto 39-17 in the period and got whatever they wanted. Jaylen Brown led the way for the Celtics with 23 points, four assists and three rebounds. 

In the third quarter, Toronto came out with a newfound energy connecting on their first four attempts from three-point range. Dennis Schroder was instrumental in Toronto's comeback efforts with five triples and 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Down as much as 16 points, the Raptors eventually took the lead.

Pascal Siakam was great tonight coming off a lacklustre performance in their last game against the Milwaukee Bucks. In just 29 minutes of action, Siakam finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists along with a game-high net rating of +17. It was clear as day that the Raptors were a much better team with him on the court.

All the starters finished in double figures and provided great production on the court, however, it was the second unit that wasn't able to keep up with Boston. Everyone on the bench finished with a negative net rating which isn't a good sign for Darko Rajakovic. Toronto fought diligently but couldn't take advantage of a game where Tatum shot 1-11 from three and 8-22 from the field.

Toronto now falls to 5-7 on the season and will now enter an easier portion of their schedule. They also fall to 0-1 in the In-Season Tournament but will have three more games to punch their ticket out of the group stage. They will face off against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at 4 PM ET with hopes to get back into the win column.