Celtics

BSJ Game Report: Celtics 120, Raptors 106 – Semi Ojeleye, Payton Pritchard Make History

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Everything you need to know about the Celtics' 120-106 win over the Raptors with BSJ insight and analysis 

Box Score

HEADLINES

Ojeleye delivers in startSemi Ojeleye entered the starting lineup to complete Brad Stevens' sixth starting lineup in six games since the Marcus Smart injury. OG Anunoby sat for the ninth straight game with a calf strain, a possible preview into Smart's timeline after Danny Ainge announced on 98.5 The Sports Hub that he is out through at least the end of the week. Robert Williams III joined the wounded with hip pain in the same left location that cost him 38 games last season.

Williams' absence allowed Stevens to play more wings than bigs, and those units thrived on a near-record shooting night for Boston. Spacing gave Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lanes to the rim all night against a struggling Raptors interior, with shooters abound who converted on 12-of-20 threes in the first half. Ojeleye hit a pair from the right wing and left corner in the opening minutes, scoring eight of Boston's first 15 points and finished with a career-high 24. Payton Pritchard and Ojeleye both shot 6-for-8 from three to become the first Celtics teammates ever to hit six threes each.

The Celtics played more akin to the unit that beat the Raptors in Game 7 last year in a 120-106 win. Daniel Theis and Brown got back on defense to block Aron Baynes and Norman Powell at the rim to protect a late seven-point lead with less than five minutes remaining, similar to Smart's chase down on Powell in September. Kemba Walker scored 21 points on-and-off the ball.

Separate Celtics droughts in the second half totaled over eight minutes and allowed the Raptors to get those two looks inside that would've got them within one possession. Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam's dribble penetration hurt Boston inside, but the C's held Toronto to 32.1% from three. Rim protection remains Boston's largest defensive weakness, along with the early transition breakouts they allowed to Toronto's top-five fast-break unit.

Ojeleye and Pritchard traded threes in either corner on both sides of halftime to build an 83-68 lead, while Stevens followed through on his promise to make the game easier for Walker. The C's generated three catch-and-shoot looks for him and all three fell, the final one eliminated by a Brown offensive foul. Walker hit a pull-up in the fourth to ice the game and traveled on a catch into a rhythm drive that appeared to open a lane to the rim. He finished 0-for 5 on two-pointers and 5-for-7 from three.

Theis scored eight points, with five rebounds and four blocks in his return to starting center.

TURNING POINT

The Raptors pulled within five points with six minutes remaining after Siakam and Baynes slashed into Boston's interior as part of a 23-for-36 (63.9%) performance at the rim for Toronto. Brown hit four free throws after, then blocked Powell and set up Walker for three that put Boston up by 10 points on the way to a 14-point victory.

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