Al Horford returns as Boston wins 12 straight
Al Horford returned and helped the Celtics keep their streak going.
Kyrie Irving is out.
Gordon Hayward is out for the season.
Another win for the hottest team in the league right now.
Just when we all thought that the Toronto Raptors would end the 11-game winning streak of Boston, Jayson Tatum scored on an acrobatic with under 2 minutes to play in the 4th quarter to give the Celtics, a 5-point cushion, en route to a 95-94 victory for the Boston Celtics- their 12th consecutive win and the first win without superstar guard Kyrie Irving who was elbowed in the face in their previous game.
So how did the Celtics come out victorious this time around?
Below are the numbers:
Defense Won it All
- DeMar DeRozan: 8 of 22 (including 1 of 4 from the three-point line)
- Kyle Lowry: 5 of 10
If the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan is defended well, you beat Toronto. Simple. Why? DeRozan, for one, is never a great shooter, to begin with, and if you put clamps on him, the more shots he will clank. In fact, he had two chances to beat Boston. Two chances. Two misses. Two clanks! Typical DeMar, isn't it?
The Horford Effect
With the Celtics missing both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, having Al Horford back after missing 2 games due to a concussion, was a welcome development for Boston and Horford didn't disappoint either. He top-scored with 21 points, making 8 of 9 field goal attempts including 1 three-pointer. Just the kind of offensive output Boston needed from one of its veterans.
Another Balanced Effort from the Starters
- Al Horford: 21 points
- Jaylen Brown: 18 points
- Marcus Smart: 14 points
- Jayson Tatum: 13 points
- Aron Baynes: 8 rebounds
One of the reasons why the Celtics have been so successful even without their stars is the mere fact that whoever starts for them, he can produce good numbers one way or another. Sure, DeRozan and Lowry had 24 and 19 respectively but they were the only Toronto starters in double figures. And that's the reason why they lost.
Boston had 4 starters in double figures to compensate the struggles of their bench. And yes, Tatum was again, efficient- making 6 of 15 attempts and grabbing 7 rebounds- all in 33 minutes of action.
If anything, this win proved something: the Celtics can compete even without Kyrie Irving on board. If they can keep up this level of competitiveness, they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with come the playoffs.