Back home in the friendly confines of TD Garden, Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics got back on track Friday night with a 112-106 victory over the defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors.
G-Time followed up his impressive 25-point performance in Wednesday’s opening night loss in Philadelphia with a 15-point night against Toronto, including a trio of treys on four attempts from beyond the arc. Additionally, he recorded eight rebounds and two assists on the night and it was on the glass where Gordon’s biggest contributions of the night came.
With the Celtics clinging to a four point lead in the final minute, No. 20 crashed the offensive glass on a miss by teammate Kemba Walker and after trying to tip it in, pulled the ball down, forcing Toronto to take a foul. Moments later, Boston inbounded to Jayson Tatum, who was fouled and sank a pair of free throws to close out the victory.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown each put up identical 25-point, nine-rebound, four-assist lines to power the Cs to victory over the defending champs. On the defensive end, Brown blocked two shots, and Tatum had three steals. Walker also had a big night, surging in the second half to score 18 of his 22 points, including 11 in the fourth as he helped bring Boston back from a six-point deficit at the end of the third quarter.
“I just wanted to be myself and these guys allow me to,” Walker said. “Coach Stevens, assistant coaches, everybody (was like) Kemba! They were in my head telling me not to worry about the misses, just keep being myself and get the shots up.”
The Celts needed every one of those shots to combat stellar performances by Raptors’ stars Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry who had 33 points and 29 points respectively. Siakam’s 33 points led all scorers.
Rookie Grant Williams was also instrumental in limiting the success of the Raptors’ big men as he was forced into action at the five spot due to injuries in the Boston frontcourt.
The Celtics will be back in action Saturday night as they take on the Knicks (0-2) at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is at 7:30 pm ET.