It was a sight you seldom see when it comes to Daniel Theis: The 28-year-old Boston Celtics big man getting a favorable whistle.
Boston’s undersized center got a couple calls to go his way early in Boston’s Game 1 matchup with Toronto.
It was fitting when you consider pretty much everything the Celtics wanted to do against the Raptors went according to script, which led to a surprisingly cushy 112-94 victory. With the win, Boston now finds itself three victories away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the last four years.
And this game was never really close as Boston built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and maintained it for most of the remainder of the game.
It was indeed an all hands-on-deck operation by Boston, with contributions coming from anyone and everyone who stepped on the floor.
And while there were many standouts for Boston, there was great joy for the C's in Theis having his best playoff game ever as he finished with his first playoff double-double of 13 points, a playoff career-high 15 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
His stats were solid, but Game 1 was a microcosm of how Theis has played throughout the postseason. There were box-outs that led to rebounds which led to points for the Celtics. He also hedged at times defensively and cut off passing lanes on occasion that resulted in turnovers for Toronto.
It was a very Theis-like game, one in which he contributed in a multitude of areas that factored heavily in Boston getting a 1-0 series lead.
But it also included a few wrinkles in Boston’s favor, among them being a rarity - a favorable whistle for Theis.
STARS Jayson Tatum: As the Raptors made their push in the second and third quarter, it was Tatum who more times than not made the necessary shots to keep Toronto at bay. He finished with a near double-double of 21 points and nine rebounds.
Kemba Walker: In his first playoff game beyond the first round, Kemba Walker finished with his first playoff double-double with 18 points and 10 assists.
Marcus Smart: Smart quickly answered any Game 1 concerns about who would fill the void left by an injured Gordon Hayward. Smart was his usual pesky self defensively while also being a major force offensively. He would finish the game with 21 points along with six rebounds and four assists while also tallying a team-best plus/minus of +27.
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STUDS Kyle Lowry: Like most of the Raptors, Lowry did not play particularly well in Game 1. However, his play picked up in the second half as he finished with a respectable 17 points and eight assists along with six rebounds.
Robert Williams III: Time Lord was right on time most of Game 1 for Boston, tallying his first double-digit scoring game in the playoffs with 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field. He also had five rebounds and blocked two shots while altering many others.
Jaylen Brown: It was Brown who carried the Celtics early on in Game 1, tallying nine of his 17 points in the first quarter. In addition to solid defense, Brown also grabbed five rebounds while dishing out four assists.
Serge Ibaka: Very little went Toronto's way in the first half, but the play of Serge Ibaka was certainly a bright spot. His ability to stretch the floor kept the game from getting out of hand early on, as he finished with a near double-double of 15 points and nine rebounds.
DUDS Pascal Siakam: The best player for the Raptors was anything but that in Game 1. He finished with 13 points with the bulk of them coming when the game was out of reach. He picked up three personal fouls in the first quarter, which was a major factor in him never getting into any kind of flow or rhythm afterwards.
Fred VanVleet: He grabbed eight assists along with six steals, but the high-scoring guard only had 11 points on 3-for-16 shooting from the field which included missing nine of his 11 three-point attempts.