The Toronto Raptors begin the second round of the NBA Playoffs with a 112-94 loss to the Boston Celtics. Boston won the regular season series 3-1 and have a good match-up against Toronto on paper. Their three headed monster, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker combined with their dynamic defence makes them a tough match-up.

The Raptors have won 11 of their 13 games in the bubble thus far, with their only two losses being against this dynamic Celtics team. The average point differential is 20 points (117-97) in Boston’s favour.

What Went Wrong

Toronto was unable to buy a bucket during Sunday’s game and it wasn’t just because of Boston’s defensive acumen. The North went cold, shooting a mediocre 31.7% on open shots (closest defender 4+ feet away).  In the previous round, against Brooklyn, that number jumped to 47.2%.

Conversely, the Celtics had four players produce 17 or more points. Those 4 shot 47%/46%/90% shooting splits combined. Marcus Smart was the surprise offensive contributor as he dropped an efficient 21 points on 60%/56%/100% shooting splits. Smart was a game high +27 in the contest

Things that Worked

Despite the 18 point loss there were quite a few high notes for the Raptors. After losing the turnover battle 6-3 in the first quarter, Toronto was able to protect the ball well enough to force a 22-14 advantage over Boston. Toronto will need to convert those turnovers into more than 7 fast break points to close the gap offensively.

The Raptors found some consistent scoring in the third, as they were able to establish offensive presence inside the paint through slashing and ball movement. This is the Raptors’ biggest advantage this series. The Celtics are a team without a true presence in the paint.

The double big-man lineup seemed to have potential for the Raptors. With Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka on the court at the same time, Boston doesn’t have the size to match-up. This would offer the Raptors’ another way to dominate the paint. It would also stop Daniel Theis from grabbing 15 rebounds a contest.

Up Next for the Raptors

The series continues on Tuesday September 1st at 5:30 PM/EST. Look for Coach of the Year Nick Nurse to make some crucial adjustments against what may be the toughest battle the Raptors will face this year.