Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON - DeMar DeRozan hit a turnaround jumper with 4:05 remaining in the game to give the Raptors a 19-point lead, and it's safe to say there weren't many in the TD Garden who expected a Raptors blowout.

The Celtics never-say-die style of play brought it to within eight before they lost, 113-103, but the final score doesn't exactly dictate how much better the Raptors were than the Celtics in the second half.

Boston kept up with Toronto through 24 minutes of play, as the two teams were tied at the half, 54-54, but they were out-shot 54.8-percent to 34.1-percent in the second half, including a fourth quarter that saw the Raptors shoot 70.6-percent (12-for-17), thanks in part to Terrence Ross' 6-for-7, 13-point performance.

All in all, the Celtics shot 37.6 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from three-point range.

Maybe they aren't quite ready to go toe-to-toe with the Raptors, a team that looks to be the only serious threat to them in the Atlantic Division.

“You feel better when you make shots; everything seems a little rosier, right?" Brad Stevens said after the game. "We had a lot of misses. Some of them were good looks, some of them weren’t. Again, I think that we have to move the ball better and continue to probe for better shots. It’s Game 2. We’re not as good as these guys right now. I think that was pretty evident and clear for everyone to see, and so we’ll see if we can improve.”

The Raptors are a team that looks to compete all the way until the end. When you think about the East, you think about the Cleveland Cavaliers first. Then perhaps the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. But the Raptors are looking to climb up the ranks too, as they've put together a fun, competitive team over the last few seasons and still feel they're on the up.

This was an early test for the Celtics, one in which they didn't pass. They'll get other opportunities though.

"It's still early. They're a hell of a team," Isaiah Thomas said, after scoring a game-high 25 points Friday night. "You have to tip your hat off to them. They came in and handled their business. But at the same time, they've definitely the last few years been a pretty good team and a team that you look forward to playing against and a team that plays the right way. They have a lot of unselfish guys, they got a lot of talented guys. So you just have to learn from the mistakes that we had tonight and build on it."

Nobody knows the Raptors better than Amir Johnson, who played for them for six seasons before signing with the Celtics over the offseason.

He too sees the Raptors as a good gauge when it comes to where his new team is at.

"You could say that. It's just for us to get better, clean up on our mistakes," said Johnson, who had 11 points and eight rebounds Friday night. "Toronto is a team that always for some reason we used to just turn up in the third quarter. For us we have to get every quarter and get those first and second quarters and play through the rest of the game. So I think it's just a test for us to get better as a team."