TORONTO – At the end of the night, each quarter of an NBA game time-wise is supposed to be no greater than any other.
But we know better.
Boston’s 96-78 loss at Toronto was a game whose outcome was heavily influenced by one, 12-minute span – the second quarter – that absolutely engulfed whatever Boston did in the other three.
Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field in the second quarter on 5-for-18 shooting, with almost twice as many turnovers (9) in the second quarter as made baskets.
“They were pushing us up and getting us from running our offense,” said Boston’s Marcus Morris. “They did take over the game that quarter and it seemed like they were so physical the refs gave them the benefit of the doubt with the whistle which is expected but they played well.”
Boston led 20-14 after the first, but the Raptors opened the second quarter with a 14-6 run to lead 28-26. And Toronto's dominance continued as they closed out the quarter with a 15-7 spurt to take a comfortable 43-33 lead into the half.
The impact of Toronto’s second quarter surge was not lost on their head coach Dwane Casey.
“It changed the game,” he said. “You’re looking for five guys that are going to compete and we did. It was a team effort; those guys came in and changed things but everybody had their contributions tonight at one point.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 96-78 loss at Toronto.
DeMar DeRozan: This was not a good shooting night for DeRozan, but he still managed to make all the big shots when needed to help Toronto take control of the game and never relinquish it. He had 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting which included him knocking down three of his four 3-pointers.
Marcus Morris: I know, I know. His team lost. But that doesn’t diminish the way Morris delivered yet another impressive scoring performance, leading all players with 21 points on an efficient 7-for-14 shooting night.
Delon Wright: The second quarter surge by Toronto involved a number of players, among them being Wright who led the Raptors in the second with six points. He would finish with a near double-double of eight points, nine rebounds and eight assists along with two steals and two blocked shots.
Greg Monroe: One of the more consistent bright spots for the Celtics, Greg Monroe was indeed a presence around the rim and on the glass as he tallied 17 points on 4-for-7 shooting to go with eight rebounds and three assists.
Fred VanVleet: One of the primary performers off Toronto’s bench, Fred VanVleet gave Boston major problems during his 24 minutes of court time. VanVleet had 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting while also dishing out four assists without a single turnover.
Terry Rozier: He has been playing at such a high level recently, it was only a matter of time before he had a bad game which was indeed what happened on Wednesday at Toronto. Rozier had just two points in 28 minutes, missing all but one of the nine shots he took. But the night wasn’t all bad for the third-year guard as he managed to haul in a game-high nine rebounds.
Celtics turnovers: Boston’s sloppy ball-handling at times would prove to be one of the issues that they simply struggled with rectifying on Wednesday. They turned the ball over 17 times which led to 29 points for the Raptors – both numbers higher than the Celtics are accustomed to.