After losing two straight to the Raptors, the Celtics came out of the gates hot in game 5 and never looked back. They won 111-89 and the game was never particularly close. Toronto’s stars, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, and Fred VanVleet all struggled yet again, only scoring 38 points on 14-31 shooting. Marc Gasol continues to be a complete non factor in this series and he may even have a bigger role in game 6. Serge Ibaka left game 5 due to an ankle injury and is questionable for game 6. If Ibaka isn’t healthy enough to play, that would be a huge loss for this Raptors team as he has been one of their most consistent players this series.
Chris Boucher or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would most likely see more minutes if Ibaka is unable to go. OG Annunoby struggled shooting last night and was even on the wrong end of a highlight. Matt Thomas played well off the bench and I would not be surprised to see him get more minutes next game as the Raptors continue to look for offensive answers. The Raptors are scoring 99.4 points per 100 possessions which is by far the worst in the league.
The big reason that the Raptors offense was so poor last night? Boston’s defense was almost picture perfect.
Whether it was Daniel Theis playing phenomenal defense on the pick and roll, or Theis not biting on any Lowry pump fake, or Marcus Smart not allowing Kyle Lowry to score or shoot a free throw when he defended him last night, the Celtics defense was rock solid last night. Toronto shot 30% from 3, 38.8% from the field, and they also committed 14 turnovers last night.
A wise Celtics account on twitter last night predicted that Jaylen Brown was going to have a great game last night after being not so effective in the first couple of games on the offensive end, and he did just that. Jaylen led all scorers with 27 points on an efficient 10-18 from the field and 3-7 from deep. Jayson Tatum hasn’t had the best offensive games the past few games, but he led the Celtics in rebounds and also had 4 assists. Kemba Walker, to me at least, remains Boston’s best player so far these playoffs with a 21 point, 4 rebound, and 7 assist performance. As mentioned earlier. Daniel Theis unarguably played his best game of the series on both ends of the floor. Brad Wanamaker was the lone bench production last night, but he had a playoff career high 15 points and even made 3 threes.
After crumbling apart in games 3 and 4, the Celtics finally came out to play and the result showed. If Ibaka is out for game 6, the Raptors could be in a lot of trouble. Game 6 is tomorrow night at 6:30 EST on ESPN.