Toronto 107, Boston 97
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, February 24, 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
TORONTO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – – Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors All-Star point guard, could not play Friday night because of a sore right wrist. That was a cue for the Raptors’ All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan to take matters into his own hands. DeRozan was up to the task, scoring 43 points to lead the Raptors to a 107-97 victory over the Boston Celtics.
“It always changes, especially when (Lowry) is not out there, understanding that the attention is going to be focused on me so I’ve got to pick it up a little bit,” DeRozan said. “Be more aggressive, pick and choose my spots ahead of time and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
DeRozan had 41 points in Toronto’s win over Boston on Jan. 10 and Toronto took the season series between the teams 3-1.
“It’s very frustrating, he’s a great scorer, he’s had his way with us the past two games,” Celtics forward Jae Crowder said. “They give good effort, they play very hard. They played had and gained momentum.”
DeRozan’s jumper in the final minute gave Toronto a five-point lead and his two free throws with 33.6 seconds left made it a seven-point advantage DeRozan made two more free throws with 27.5 seconds left to seal the win.
Lowry injured his wrist in the win over the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 15 but was still able to participate in the All-Star Game this past weekend. The injury will be evaluated during the weekend. The game Friday was the first for Toronto since it played Charlotte.
The Celtics, who led by as many as 17 points in the first half, held tight to a three-point edge entering the fourth quarter.
DeRozan scored four straight points to tie the game for Toronto at 88 with 4:35 to play in the game. Crowder’s 3-pointer gave Boston the lead, but the Raptors scored the next five points with DeMarre Carroll’s 3-pointer giving Toronto the lead with 3:27 to play.
DeRozan’s jumper made it a four-point lead and Cory Joseph’s 18-foot jumper gave Toronto a five-point advantage with two minutes left. Crowder’s 21-foot jumper cut the lead to three.
Serge Ibaka had 15 points and seven rebounds in his Raptors’ debut. Patrick Patterson and Joseph added 11 points each for Toronto (34-24). Forward P.J. Tucker, also making his Raptors’ debut, scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
It was not known if Tucker would play, one day after the trade and without a practice with his new team. He said there was no question once he was in the locker room. “I haven’t missed a game in a long time,” he said. “I wasn’t going to miss this one. We have so many weapons and we can wreak havoc on defense.”
Working in two new players, DeRozan said. “We just played, we kept it simple.”
Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 20 points and Marcus Smart added 19 points off the bench. Crowder also had 19 points and Jaylen Brown added 13 for Boston (37-21).
The Raptors did a good job of keeping Thomas in check down the stretch.
“They just showed (Thomas) different looks, really pressured him, switched a lot, trapped him a lot,” Celtics forward/center Al Horford said. ‘We will all learn how to make adjustments, I’m sure other teams will try to emulate them.
Horford said the Raptors kept pressuring the Celtics. “I think we have to do a better job of handling the pressure,” he said. “We have to give them credit because they did a good job of that, really, all four times we’ve played them.”
Ibaka, obtained in a trade with the Orlando Magic on Feb. 14, started at power forward. He had a block and four points in the first quarter.
Tucker, obtained in a deal with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, appeared as a reserve in the first quarter and was a presence defensively.
Boston led by 17 points on Brown’s 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the first half.
Tucker made a 3-pointer from the corner and DeRozan made a hook shot to complete the first-half scoring, leaving Boston with a 55-45.
NOTES: Raptors F P.J. Tucker was returning to the team that drafted him in 2006. Toronto reacquired him in a trade with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. The Raptors sent F Jared Sullinger and two second-round draft picks to Phoenix in the transaction. … Toronto F Patrick Patterson (left knee contusion) returned Friday and entered the first quarter after missing the previous six games following an injury against the Magic at Orlando on Feb. 3. … Boston F Jaylen Brown (strained right hip), who returned to the lineup Friday, had missed the three previous games. … Celtics G Avery Bradley (strained right Achilles tendon) missed his 21st game Friday but Boston coach Brad Stevens said that he has progressed well and should return soon. … The Raptors will play their next game Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Air Canada Centre. … The Celtics next game will be Sunday against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.