The Toronto Raptors tied the series against the Celtics at 2-2 last night. In what almost seemed like a runaway series for the Celtics, is now thin tight.
With the Celtics up 2-0 in the series initially, OG Anunoby was able to hit a buzzer beater with 0.5 seconds left. If the Raptors were to go down 3-0 the whole league would’ve written them off. But they didn’t. Instead, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet were able to lead their team to a tied series.
In game 4 the Raptors were able to knock down threes and compete as a team. Pascal Siakam finally showed up with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Despite Pascal’s efficiency, Nick Nurse trusted in his players. The Celtics were depleted as it looked like a hangover from the loss they suffered in game 3. Boston couldn’t knock down shots, rotate on defense, and rebound as well as they should’ve. Kemba Walker wasn’t aggressive and Jaylen Brown was nonexistent on offense. Although there’s plenty of upside to look on for Toronto, there are also some concerns.
Knowing how important this game was to Toronto, Nick Nurse played his superstars. Excuse me, he exhausted his stars. Siakam played a whopping 46 minutes. Lowry played 44 minutes and VanVleet clocked in at 45 minutes. Despite the win earned by the Toronto Raptors, long term effects may show. Especially considering both teams must play game 5 tomorrow. Nurse only really used 7 guys on his team compared to the Celtics using 9 guys. In a series of best of 7, it’s a marathon. However, I do understand that if the Raptors were to go down 3-1 in the series it would make their climb tougher. But considering Toronto’s team isn’t the youngest, it may come back to haunt them.
If the Celtics want to win they must get more offensive production from their starters. Jaylen Brown has a tough assignment with Siakam. But that is no excuse for only having 14 points in 36 minutes. As a unit, the Celtics shot a miserable 20% from deep. Despite the shooting struggles guys still decided to shoot and not get to the line. I expect Brad Stephens to make some major adjustments to what he’s seen.
Jayson Tatum has done his part. Offensively, he’s been the only one consistently attacking the basket and scoring. But the Celtics will need an entire team effort if they want to pull this one out. New life has been breathed into the Raptors. And although this series is tied, I wonder if Nick Nurse is going to look deeper into his bench. Because playing his stars this much when every other day is a game is tiring. It can impact their chances into the next round if they get past Boston.
Are the Celtics in trouble? Maybe. But I expect Coach Brad Stephens to make major adjustments for game 5. I expect the more talented Celtics to be aggressive to the paint. Kemba Walker will get going offensively and the fatigue of the Toronto Raptors will start to show.
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