Just two days ago, the Toronto Raptors were half a second away from going down 3-0 to the Boston Celtics, a deficit no NBA team has ever come back from. But fast forward to now, and the defending champs are back in business with the series tied 2-2.
The Raptors took down the Celtics in Game 4 by a score of 100-93 in an unconventional yet effective fashion. They shot just 39.5% from the field and scored under 20 points in 2 quarters. Those are rare numbers from a winning team, but Toronto found a way, as they have all season.
Per usual, defense led the way to victory. The Raptors threw an array of defensive schemes at the Celtics, who scored their third-lowest point total of the entire season on a disastrous 20% shooting from 3. Jaylen Brown shot 4/18, and Kemba Walker attempted just nine shots. Yet again, Toronto’s defensive prowess was on full display.
And while the field goal % wasn’t pretty, the Raptors’ offense showed encouraging signs of life that were previously absent. Most notably, all-star forward Pascal Siakam finally stepped up by scoring a series-high 23 points.
It’s a huge bounce-back performance for Siakam, who didn’t top six made field goals in any of the series’ first three games. He was completely unfazed by his recent struggles and stayed aggressive all night. Siakam alluded to this mental approach after the game. He said, “No matter what happens, shots falling or not, they’re always going to be there for me.”
Toronto also knocked down an impressive 17 3-pointers, but according to Kyle Lowry, they’re only scratching the surface of their potential from beyond the arc.
“I still don’t think we’re close to where we can be shooting it at… If we get one of those games where we’re really hot, it makes a big difference,” said Lowry in his post-game presserH/T Ben Golliver
With the series tied, anything can happen. The Raptors rallied off four straight wins from a 2-0 deficit in last year’s playoffs, and there’s no reason why they can’t do it again.
After Game 3, Toronto guard Fred VanVleet reportedly said, “[The Celtics] f–ked up” by letting the Raptors back into the series. Now that the momentum has shifted in the Raptors’ favor, VanVleet might be right.