The Toronto Raptors‘ first Christmas game at home in franchise history ended in a 118-102 loss against the Boston Celtics (21-7). The loss ends their win streak against Atlantic division rivals at home, leaving them with 34 consecutive wins. They claimed the record against the New York Knicks (7-24) on November 27.

Toronto’s 21-10 record matches them with the Indiana Pacers tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Indiana holds the advantage as they lead the season series with their win on December 23.

The Raptors started the game with a ferocity they simply couldn’t sustain. After a 10-0 start in the first 2 minutes of play the Raptors fell flat, scoring only 9 points in the remaining 10 minutes. Boston ended up winning the first quarter 28-19 and never looked back.

Raptors’ Top Performers

Despite the loss, there were a couple bright spots during the performance. Chris Boucher had another career night as he poured in 24 points in the contest. The lack of a true starting caliber center on the Celtics allowed him to thrive in the paint. His shooting from deep was otherworldly at 75% (3/4). As expected he has made the most of his increased minutes with Marc Gasol out with injury. Being a tenacious rebounder off the bench and a key component of the diamond full court press that Nurse has utilized.

Fred Vanvleet’s team-high 27 points was impressive and also came with 6 assists. His mastery of the pick and roll allowed the team to get their offence going. He also contributed a game-high 4 steals in the contest.

Dearly Missing Marc Gasol

Despite Boucher playing exceptionally well in his absence, Marc Gasol’s impact is dearly missed. Without Gasol the team’s passing depends entirely on Lowry and Fred VanVleet from the perimeter, making it much more difficult to operate from inside the paint or the top of the key. Ibaka and Boucher acting mostly as roll threats serves to clog the paint as well and makes it difficult for players to slash inside when not in a pick and roll action. The Raptors will have their work cut out for them until the centre regains his full health.

Up Next

The Raptors can get their revenge against the Celtics as they travel to Boston for a rematch at on Saturday night. Nick Nurse has shown the ability to adjust against any coach so seeing how he approaches this game will be extremely interesting.