They had their struggles at times in the first half, but the Celtics will head into the All-Star break with some serious momentum. After beating Toronto 132-125 Tuesday night at TD Garden, the C’s are now riding a four-game winning streak heading into the pause.
When they returned home from a four-game road trip last week, the Celtics were reeling, having lost three of their last 11 games. With Thursday’s win, they swept their four-game homestand, and moved their record back above .500 to 18-17.
Despite the Raptors missing multiple starters, the game started with a close first quarter. Both teams shot over 50 percent, and neither gained more than a five-point advantage. Toronto was able to grab a slight lead due to six Celtics turnovers in the frame, which had Boston down 34-31 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the Celtics fell behind by as many as nine points. Refusing to let the game slip away, the Celtics fought back with a 15-5 run, and grabbed the lead in the final minute of the half on a putback slam from Jayson Tatum.
However, a pair of questionable foul calls led to three free throws for Toronto and the C’s surrendering the lead once again. Heading into the break, the Raptors were up 70-66.
Coming out of the locker room, the Celtics were able to regain control. They opened the third quarter on a 21-10 run, to pick up an eight point lead. They’d maintain that lead for the rest of the period, and took a 101-92 lead into the fourth.
Boston built their lead up to 12 points mid way through the fourth quarter. A late Toronto charge cut the deficit to three points, but a couple of clutch shots from Jayson Tatum and a handful of free throws iced the game for the Celtics.
Tatum led the way for the Celtics, recording his sixth double-double of the year. The All-Star starter scored 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, to go along with 12 rebounds and five assists.
His fellow All-Star Jaylen Brown turned in an impressive night as well, with 21 points and seven rebounds. Coming off a big game on Tuesday, Kemba Walker played more of a supporting role with 15 points and six assists.
Off the bench, the Celtics got another great performance from Robert Williams. Williams posted 10 points with seven rebounds, and blocked three shots for the second straight game. He wasn’t the only Williams with a big game as a reserve – Grant Williams had a season-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
With the All-Star Game set for Sunday, the Celtics now have a week off. The second half of their season begins next Thursday in Brooklyn, before a trip to Texas to take on the Houston Rockets that Sunday.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.