Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Celtics 105, Raptors 96: Jrue Holiday, Derrick White hold off Toronto on MLK Day

The Celtics took their talent north of the border without Jaylen Brown to beat the Toronto Raptors 105-96 Monday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Jrue Holiday (seven assists, six rebounds) and Derrick White filled in nicely for Brown, who sat out with a hyperextended right knee, as each scored 22 points respectively on a combined 14-of-32 from the field, including 9-of-17 from deep to help lead Boston and improve to a league-best 31-9 record.

Jayson Tatum recorded 19 points, 14 rebounds, Kristaps Porzingis added 15 points and Al Horford chipped in 10 points, 11 rebounds for the Celtics -- who swept their season-series 4-0 over Toronto.
"This year we've shown that, regardless of who's out, there's an affirmation that everyone is going to step up," Mazzulla said.
Newly acquired RJ Barrett led the Raptors with 24 points, nine rebounds and former Knick Immanuel Quickley finished with 21 points and six rebounds. Pascal Siakam netted 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting and ex-Celtic Dennis Schröder contributed with 13 points, seven rebounds off the bench for Toronto -- that has dropped to 15-25 on the season.

Boston hit 10-of-18 from 3-point range in the first half and took a 61-55 advantage into the break, before the Raptors used a 18-5 run to open the third for their largest lead of the game (73-66) with 6:18 left in the quarter.

The Celtics responded with a 18-2 spurt and had a 84-75 lead heading into the final frame off of nine points from Tatum in the period.
"We know that anything is possible," Holiday said in his postgame comments. "We know that we can come back and be able to withstand those punches."
Toronto got within four (100-96) on eight unanswered points, capped off by a Barnes field goal with 2:00 left to play. White hit a corner 3-pointer (his fifth 3 of the game) on the ensuing possession as part of a 10-point quarter -- while Holiday put the Raptors away with a pair of free throws in the last 50.1 seconds, scoring eight in the fourth to hold off the home team's late rally.
"What he does for our team a lot of times goes unnoticed," Holiday said of White. "A lot of times, too, it makes a big impact."
The Raptors are 0-10 against Atlantic Division opponents, while Boston is now 6-0 when holding teams to under 100 points.

The Celtics head back to TD Garden to host the San Antonio Spurs (7-32) Wednesday night, as they look to remain unbeaten and win their 20th straight at home.  

Game Notes:

Boston hit 40.2% from the field, including 16-of-39 (41%) from 3-point range, while the Raptors were 40% from the floor and 4-of-32 (12.5%) from long distance. Celtics won the battle of the glass 53-52 but were outscored in the paint 60-28. Toronto had 25 dimes (seven turnovers) on 38 baskets to the C's 20 assists (13 turnovers) on 33 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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