Celtics-Raptors takeaways: Tatum, C’s dominate on second night of back-to-back originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Three Key Storylines
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Boston Celtics picked up where they left off against a well-rested Toronto Raptors squad.
The C’s followed Friday night’s win over the Brooklyn Nets with a 117-94 victory in Saturday’s game at TD Garden. After a slow start, Boston went on a 21-2 run over the first and second quarters to open up a double-digit lead over Toronto. The Raptors answered with a couple runs of their own, but the Celtics pulled away with a strong third quarter and didn’t look back.
Jaylen Brown (29 points), Jayson Tatum (27 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (21 points) paced the Celtics in scoring. Pascal Siakam (17 points) and ex-Celtic Dennis Schroder (14 points) did their part for the Raptors in a losing effort.
The Celtics will return to action Monday when they host the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET. Before we turn the page, here are our takeaways from Saturday’s victory.
A masterclass from the Jays
You’d never know it was the second night of a back-to-back just by watching Tatum. The Celtics’ superstar made everything look easy in Saturday’s win.
Tatum didn’t make his first shot until about 10 minutes into the first quarter. From there, he caught fire with 17 first-half points.
The Tatum effect was evident when he was off the floor. As pointed out by Celtics radio voice Sean Grande and The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the C’s struggled mightily when Tatum was on the bench and pulled away from the Raptors when he was in the game. That continued what has been a trend for Boston so far this season.
Tatum checks out: 7-0 Raptors run in 2 mins.
Tatum checks back in: 6-0 Cs answer.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 12, 2023
Tatum went on to finish with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting (3-9 3-PT). He added five rebounds and four assists and, perhaps most notably, was a +42 on the night. He leads the NBA in plus-minus at +166.
Jaylen Brown gave the TD Garden crowd an encore after his stellar performance in Friday’s win. He erupted for 21 of his game-high 29 points (12-20 FG) in the second half to help the Celtics run away with the victory over Toronto.
Kristaps Porzingis makes presence felt
Porzingis was oddly quiet on Friday against Brooklyn. The 7-foot-3 star attempted only four shots in the win and ended up with a modest nine points in 25 minutes.
His aggressiveness returned on Saturday night. He played a huge role in the dominant victory with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-7 from deep.
Porzingis helped the C’s pull away in the third quarter with two deep 3s and two loud dunks. When he’s on, this Celtics offense is nearly impossible to stop.
Tatum, Brown, and Porzingis combined for 77 of the C’s 117 points. You’d be hard-pressed to name a better trio in the NBA right now.
Sam Hauser’s scorching November continues
Hauser continues to step up as the spark plug Boston needs off the bench. He has found his groove after shooting just 3-of-15 from 3-point range in October.
He hit four of his six 3s on Saturday, making him 24-for-42 (57.1 percent) from beyond the arc so far in November.
The Celtics second unit has been the subject of criticism through the early part of the season, but Hauser’s recent play has helped to quiet those concerns. As long as he’s shooting like this, it’ll be tough for anyone to keep pace with Boston’s relentless offense.
Hauser finished with 12 points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.