It all seemed so familiar, except for the ending.
Boston fell behind early and faced a 21-point halftime deficit.
The runs that we've come to expect from the Boston Celtics never came, and the end result was an emphatic 111-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto (37-16) moves to within one game of the Celtics (39-16) for the best record in the Eastern Conference, in addition to evening up the head-to-head series at one game apiece.
Although Boston (39-16) has been one of the best road teams in the NBA this season, Toronto's success this season has been in large part because of their play at home.
In fact, Toronto came into the game with the best home record in the NBA (21-4).
Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 23 points along with eight rebounds and four assists, with DeMar DeRozan chipping in 15 points and six assists.
The Celtics were led by Terry Rozier’s 18 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.
Kyrie Irving, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a right quadriceps injury, had 17 points and three assists.
The hole Boston found itself in only got deeper as the game wore on, with the Raptors getting strong contributions from just about every player who set foot on the court.
And there wasn’t any one particular area that set Toronto’s beat-down of Boston in motion.
More than anything else, it was a matter of the Raptors making all right decisions on offense and proper reads defensively.
And while the Celtics' effort has often been a major factor in their losses, this pummeling had nothing to do with effort.
Toronto played a better game, at both ends of the floor.
It was that simple.
A blowout did not seem to be on the horizon at the game’s outset, as both teams struggled to generate a ton of points.
The first quarter was a low-scoring affair, the kind of game that played more to Boston’s defensive-minded strengths.
Trailing Toronto 22-18 after the first, the Raptor’s second unit was what created the separation the Raptors needed in order to take control of the game.
Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright had combined for 21 of the 30 points scored by Toronto’s bench which was indeed the difference in the first half which ended with the Raptors holding a commanding 58-37 lead.
The third quarter was more of a stalemate by both teams, which was not good for the Celtics who failed to make up the kind of ground we’re so often used to seeing them cover quickly.
Boston’s 21-point deficit at the half wound up being slightly deeper going into the fourth quarter as the Raptors had a commanding 83-60 lead.