Raptors season ends with Game 7 loss to Celtics

Sep 12 2020, 3:52 am

Just like that, the Toronto Raptors’ season is over.

The Boston Celtics ousted the defending champs and the Raptorsā€™ season came to an end after losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, 92-87.

Turnovers proved too costly for the Raps as they gave up 18 turnovers to the Celtics. Toronto gave up 31 points to turnovers, and that was the turning point of Game 7 and the series.

Despite both teams shooting close to even from the floor, those turnovers were the dagger in the Raptors’ season. Those 31 points were the most allowed via turnovers in Raptors playoff history.

“We had opportunities to win it, but they came out and did their job and they won,” Kyle Lowry told reporters after the game. “It’s sad that we had more to give, but unfortunately, we not giving no more right now.”

Heading into Game 7 against the Celtics, the Raptors were 3-2 lifetime in Game 7ā€™s in the playoffs. The most recent Game 7 coming against the Philadelphia 76ers in last yearā€™s conference semifinals, and we all know how that ended.

It was all Boston in Games 1 and 5, as the Raptors lost both games by a combined 40 points and never led in either of those contests. OG Anunoby drained the decisive baskets in Games 3 and 6 for the Raptors, and Game 2 was a mere three-point game.

So you could say this seven-game series had a little of everything; close contests, complete blowouts, and a buzzer beater.

Pascal Siakam struggled the entire series and lost his scoring touch, and that spilled into the first quarter of Game 7. He went scoreless with three shots, scoring only two from the free throw line. However, Siakam contributed early on defence, providing this big block of Kemba Walker.

Siakam never recovered in Game 7 and contributed only 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists in Game 7. He averaged 17.4 points per game in the playoffs this year, compared to 19 points per game during the Raptors’ championship run.

The Celtics went on a 13-0 run in the first quarter before the Raptors answered, closing the gap and taking a 27-26 lead by the end of the first. The bench was a big contributor, as Serge Ibaka, Norm Powell and Matt Thomas combined to score 10 of the Raptors 27 first quarter points.

Turnovers were the fatal flaw for the Raps as they allowed the Celtics to get their foot back in the door, closing the gap in part to 10, yes, 10 turnovers by the Raptors (7 in the second quarter alone).

Boston took advantage of those opportunities, scoring 10 points from turnovers, and sprung out to a 50-46 lead at the half.

Both Ibaka and Fred VanVleet led all Raptors scorers with 12 points after the first 24 minutes. Despite playing just over 11 minutes in the first half, the Raptorsā€™ big man drained a three, chipped in four field goals and picked up 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Although Marc Gasol looked a little gassed to start the second half, he forced this crucial turnover for the Raptors, but OG Anunoby took a scary fall into the stanchion of the net. Luckily, he shook it off and drained the free throws.

Try as they may, once the Raptors tried to get something going in the third quarter, they either dished over a turnover or were met with blocks at the rim, like this one.

Like most nights, Lowry was the straw that stirs the drink on the court for Toronto, and he came to play in Game 7. This clutch layup got the Raptors within two of the Celtics with just over two points left in the third.

When the Raptors needed to get their mojo going again in the fourth quarter, who else would they turn to? One of their most prolific three point shooters: VanVleet. He nailed this clutch three pointer to bring the Raps within five.

Boston pulled away and accumulated an eight-point lead with just over four minutes left in the game, but the Raptors couldn’t get anything going with even more costly turnovers and missed shots in the fourth.

In essence, it’s a miracle it was only a five point game, given that the Raptors allowed 31 points through turnovers. A better break here, a shot there, and the Raps might have moved on to the Eastern Finals.

But unfortunately, they won’t repeat as NBA Champions, and the Boston Celtics will move on to face the Miami Heat in the conference finals. The Raptors had the second best record in the NBA this year, but at the very end, the magic ran empty.

Ian HunterIan Hunter

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