In a close game against the Raptors, the Celtics won it 110-99. What won the game for the Celtics was the 4th quarter, which they won 28-15. The team’s pace was impressive, as they began to make runs, which was acknowledged by head coach Brad Stevens.
“Well, I didn’t think at the start of the third we were great,” said Stevens, “but, you know, we got it going at the end of the third and into the fourth. And it was back and forth, and then really executed well offensively. Made a lot of great individual plays offensively and got better defensively as the game went on. But, they’re a really good team and sometimes you play you play great defense on them and they make shots anyways. I thought the first quarter especially was super high-level shot making by both teams.”
Part of the Celtics’ explosion in the second half was rookie Jayson Tatum scoring 14 points in the third period, which he did by carrying the scoring load.
“I wouldn’t say that I necessarily see anything different in him,” said Stevens.”I just think he’s – as he gets more experience he’s getting better. He’s done a great job working in the weight room and doing different things to, you know, continue to go through the long season, and he’s really, really starting to peak, I think. So, that’s – it’s been fun to watch. You know we played him at the ‘one’ some tonight, which we haven’t done yet. And it allowed us to be really big on the other end of the floor, which was nice. But, obviously, he’s just a – he’s a talented guy. Does a lot of good things.”
What also helped the team was going into a 2-3 zone to stifle the team from the North.
“Well, when we play those big lineups, with Tatum at the top of that, it’s pretty – it’s a pretty good guard at the top of a 2-3 zone when he puts his arms out. Like, so, we saw, we ran it a couple times in the first half with mixed results. But it – a lot of our issues were late in the clock, so it felt it was something we could go back to if we needed to. But it was – sometimes it’s really a good move; sometimes they just miss shots. I’ll have to go back and look and see what it looked like, but it felt like we were active in the middle of it. Did get some deflections on drives and cause some turnovers out of it.”