Celtics

Do C's have edge over Raptors? What recent matchups tell us

Celtics
Kemba Walker defends Kyle Lowry
Kemba Walker defends Kyle Lowry
USA TODAY Sports

History is about to be made in the NBA bubble.

The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will meet in the postseason for the first time ever when Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series tips off Thursday night.

The Celtics and Raptors are hardly strangers, though: The Atlantic Division rivals play each other four times each regular season and have had some fierce battles in recent years as both clubs have become Eastern Conference contenders.

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So, how did Boston and Toronto stack up this season? Here's a look back at the teams' season series, which the Celtics won 3-1:

Oct. 25, 2019: Celtics 112, Raptors 106

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Celtics: Jayson Tatum (25 points), Jaylen Brown (25 points), Kemba Walker (22 points) Raptors: Pascal Siakam (33 points), Kyle Lowry (29 points)

WHAT WE LEARNED

The Celtics first win of the 2019-20 season was an inspiring effort, as the Celtics outscored Toronto by 12 in the fourth quarter for a comeback victory in their home opener. 

Tatum and Brown showed early signs of the massive leap they'd take this season, while Walker came up clutch in just his second game as a Celtic with some key baskets down the stretch.

The C's also found a blueprint to beat Toronto: Let Lowry and Siakam get theirs but shut down the Raptors' talented bench, which mustered 26 total points.

 

Dec. 25, 2019: Celtics 118, Raptors 102

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Celtics: Jaylen Brown (30 points), Kemba Walker (22 points) Raptors: Fred VanFleet (27 points), Chris Boucher (24 points)

WHAT WE LEARNED

Christmas Day belonged to Jaylen Brown, who went off in the second half to help the Celtics shake off a 10-0 deficit and roll to a 16-point win.

Boston caught Toronto at a good time -- the Raptors were missing Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell for this one -- but this was still a quality win on the national stage for the C's, who were in the thick of an 8-1 stretch between Dec. 18 and Jan. 4.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Would Tatum, Brown and Celtics be where they are if Horford didn’t bolt to the Sixers? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Dec. 28, 2019: Raptors 113, Celtics 97

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Celtics: Kemba Walker (30 points), Jaylen Brown (17 points) Raptors: Kyle Lowry (30 points), Serge Ibaka (20 points), Fred VanFleet (18 points)

WHAT WE LEARNED

Marcus Smart returned from an eight-game absence due to an eye infection, but that was about the only positive for the Celtics.

A shorthanded Raptors squad exacted revenge on Boston three days after Christmas thanks to dominant play from its backcourt duo of Lowry and VanFleet and a combined 38 points from role players Serge Ibaka and Patrick McCaw.

Meanwhile, the C's couldn't overcome poor shooting nights from Tatum (3 for 7) and Hayward (3 for 13).

Aug. 7, 2020: Celtics 122, Raptors 100

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TOP PERFORMERS

Celtics: Jaylen Brown (20 points), Jayson Tatum (18 points), Kemba Walker (17 points) Raptors: Fred VanFleet (13 points)

WHAT WE LEARNED

The final score doesn't do this game justice. The Celtics led by 34 points entering the final quarter in an absolute beatdown of a full-strength Raptors squad in the bubble.

Boston's defense put the clamps on Siakam and Lowry (11 points each on a combined 8 for 21 shooting), while Walker, Tatum and Brown jump-started the Celtics' offense before the bench came in for mop-up duty.

Blakely: C's know they must play better to beat Raptors

They may have caught the Raptors on an off-night, but this win was a sign that the C's may have a serious playoff run in them this season.