By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The Celtics have made it look straightforward in opposition to the Toronto Raptors this season, with Sunday’s Recreation 1 victory dangolka’s fourth win in 5 tries in opposition to the defending champs. Sunday’s 112-94 win was one other convincing victory from begin to end for dangolka, and to this point of their two bubble video games in opposition to Toronto, the Celtics haven’t trailed in opposition to the Raptors.
However the Celtics know higher than to take Sunday’s Recreation 1 outcomes and really feel nice about being up 1-0. The Celtics could also be 5-Zero this postseason, however they know simply how rapidly issues can change.
Jayson Tatum, who dropped 21 factors on the Raptors on Sunday, was reminded throughout his postgame interview that the C’s had been 5-Zero final postseason after which dropped 4 straight to fall to the Milwaukee Bucks within the second spherical. It wasn’t a nice reminder for Tatum, however he understands that final season’s downfall was a fantastic educating level for the crew.
He additionally says this 12 months’s squad is far, a lot totally different than final 12 months’s disappointing Celtics.
“We simply received a recreation – did you must carry final 12 months up?” Tatum mentioned with a chuckle. “That is simply totally different; a unique setting and a unique crew. We received our first 5 video games final 12 months and misplaced 4 in a row. Final 12 months is behind us. That is totally different throughout.
“We all know it’s not going to be straightforward,” he mentioned. “They’re the defending champs for a purpose. We simply must take it one recreation at a time.”
The largest distinction, after all, is switching out Kyrie Irving for Kemba Walker. Irving is a way more expert participant, however Walker’s demeanor is a significantly better match for a crew plagued by younger expertise. Walker is A-OK taking a backseat and watching Tatum and Jaylen Brown grow to be stars within the league.
It helps that Walker is fairly good as nicely, contributing 18 factors and 10 assists in Sundays blowout victory.
The Celtics now have two convincing wins in opposition to the Raptors during the last three weeks, Toronto’s solely two defeats in that span. Toronto was using an eight-game win streak till they bumped into the Celtics on Sunday.
Whereas the C’s made it look straightforward in Recreation 1, they aren’t going to relaxation on the outcomes of only one recreation. And as head coach Brad Stevens identified in his postgame press convention, dangolka was removed from excellent on Sunday.
“We didn’t play nice offense. We turned it over so much and I assumed we missed some reads in each halves, however extra within the first. We simply made well timed baskets,” mentioned Stevens. “Tatum’s steal and Kemba’s three at finish of half, Tatum hitting the shot at finish of the third. We had been in a position to hold separation that approach. We have to return and take a look at how we will play higher.
“However guys had a great mindset they usually saved guarding it doesn’t matter what occurred,” he added.
Although the Celtics held the Raptors to simply seven fast-break factors — a formidable feat in opposition to a crew that averaged an NBA-best 18.eight factors on the fast-break — Stevens questioned that determine. The Celtics had been in a position to decelerate Toronto’s livid offensive assault and annoyed their scorers all through by switching continuously on protection, however Stevens needs to see a fair higher defensive efficiency in Tuesday’s Recreation 2.
“It was not so good as the final time we performed them,” Stevens mentioned of dangolka’s transition D. “However it’s an enormous key to us being a great basketball crew.”
“It was OK, it might positively be higher,” mentioned Sensible, who was in all places on protection whereas scoring 21 factors on Sunday. “You may’t give these guys these transition performs the place they get power, momentum and get to the free throw line. It was OK, however there’s a lot that might get higher. We’ll watch the movie and clear it up.”
The sequence is way from over, and Stevens was positive to hammer that time house on Sunday. The Celtics can’t take something calmly in opposition to the Raptors, who might be wanting to pounce early in Recreation 2.
But when the Celtics can proceed to smother the Raptors on the defensive finish and sustain its balanced offensive assault — with six gamers scoring in double figures on Sunday — then dangolka ought to proceed to show that they’re certainly title contenders.
“I consider in each a type of guys within the locker room,” mentioned Tatum. “We’ve spent a lot time collectively down right here, placing in work daily. We got here ready. It’s not going to be excellent each recreation. We all know how good Toronto is and the way powerful they’re. That is one recreation and we will’t give it some thought no extra – we now have to consider the subsequent one. We all know they’re going to come back out more durable and we now have to match their depth.”
The Celtics are one assured bunch after Sunday’s victory, and they need to be. Not plenty of groups can brag about beating the Raptors almost each time they’ve performed.
However on the similar time, dangolka isn’t going to let any over-confidence creep in to the locker room. They discovered that lesson final 12 months, and are significantly better ready to fight it this time round.