The Toronto Raptors cruise past the Boston Celtics at TD Garden for their second win of the season. Led by DeMar DeRozan's 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, the Raptors were able to hold on to a 113-103 win over the Celtics.
The Raptors struggled offensively in the first quarter, shooting just 6 of 22 from the field. Free throws kept them in this one, attempting 12 in the first quarter and 35 in total.
As both teams were neck and neck at 60 in the third quarter, the Raptors found their rhythm offensively that ignited to a 22-8 run that helped them runaway with this one. The Raptors led by 19 late, but the Celtics weren't done just yet. A 13-3 run cut the Raptors lead to just nine with 1:27 left to go, but a foul committed by Avery Bradley that sent DeRozan to the line put the nail in the coffin as he hit one of two.
Luis Scola, who struggled in the first half to find his grove, adjusted like veteran savvy players do and tallied all nine of his points in the third while also grabbing down nine rebounds throughout.
DeMarre Carroll was also huge in the third, cutting to the basket while also knocking down a couple from beyond the arc, shooting 4 of 7 from deep. Carroll finished with 21 points and five rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
Terrence Ross delivered an amazing spark off the bench, dropping 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting in just 21 minutes. Ross' performance gave fans flashbacks to his epic performance two seasons ago, when he dropped 51 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Boston's end, Isaiah Thomas led all scores with 25 points, seven assists and two steals off the bench. The Celtics also had five players in double-figures.
There was a familiar face in a Celtics uniform tonight. Amir Johnson, who spent his last six seasons with the Raptors, signed a $24 million deal with the Celtics this past summer. Amir didn't get too phased in facing his former team as he put up 11 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes of action. A tribute video is expected when Amir Johnson makes his return to Toronto on January 20th.
Free throws made a huge impact on this matchup and the veteran backcourt of Toronto made sure they made their mark there. Kyle Lowry and DeRozan combined for 24 free-throw attempts of the team's 35 and capitalized on 20 makes. Kyle and DeMar both know that they are at their best when attacking, and so far this season, they haven't slowed down at doing so. DeRozan attempted 16 free throws on opening night, and we shall expect more of this as the season progresses.
It wasn't just the Raptors second win of the season, but it was Raptors' coach Dwane Casey's 156th win, matching Sam Mitchell for most in franchise history. Casey looks to pass Mitchell on Sunday night when the Raptors head back to the Air Canada Centre to take on the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are still in search of their first win of the season after starting the season 0-2, with losses against the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors will look to get out the gates rolling after two slow starts that had them catching fire in the second half.
Watch the Raptors take on the Bucks for their first meeting of the season on Sunday at 6 PM EST!