The Boston Celtics held off the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night to snap their two-game losing skid.
It wasn't a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination, but the C's overcame a sloppy offensive performance by getting to the free-throw line (29-31 from the stripe) and dominating the boards (64 rebounds to Toronto's 46). Marcus Smart led the way with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists as five Celtics players scored in double figures.
Here are three immediate takeaways from Boston's 109-97 victory, which brings its record on the season to 11-10.
Jayson Tatum's playmaking makes up for shooting woes
Tatum has dropped at least 20 points in 10 of his last 12 games, but he hasn't been very efficient from the field as of late. His shooting struggles continued Sunday evening as he finished with only eight points, his lowest total since of the season thus far.
Even though he shot just 2-for-16 on the night, Tatum still found a way to make a strong impact on the Celtics' win. The 23-year-old got his teammates involved by tallying a season-high 10 assists. He also added seven rebounds to the stat sheet and was the only C's starter to finish in the plus category (+13).
Boston needs Tatum's shooting to improve going forward, but it's encouraging to see he doesn't need to carry the load night-in and night-out for the C's to be victorious.
Josh Richardson, Grant Williams step up
With Tatum struggling offensively, the Celtics needed their supporting cast to step up. They did just that with Josh Richardson and Grant Williams both coming up big.
Richardson notched 18 points in 27 minutes and was a +23 off the bench. Williams got the start with Robert Williams (non-COVID illness) out and added 15 points to go with five rebounds. The duo combined to shoot 10-for-18 from the field (4-for-8 from 3) and was 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Smart and Al Horford (17 pts, 11 reb) stand out in the box score, but the Celtics don't win this game without these performances from Richardson and Williams. They were the difference-makers in the much-needed C's victory.
Enes Kanter adds more big minutes off the bench
Like Richardson, Kanter -- soon to be named Enes Kanter Freedom -- was a huge presence off the bench for the C's in this one.
With Rob Williams sidelined, Kanter again was counted on to provide some big minutes. He did exactly that with nine points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes for the second unit. He also added a steal and a block and was a +15.
Kanter didn't get much action to begin the campaign, but the big man has taken advantage of his increased playing time over the last couple of weeks. He'll look for that success to carry into Wednesday night vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, especially if the injury bug continues to haunt the Celtics.