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Toronto Raptors

Eight thoughts on the Boston Celtics Christmas Day victory over the Toronto Raptors

The short-handed Toronto Raptors could not keep up with the Boston Celtics in this contest.

Behind a 30-point outburst from Jaylen Brown, Boston was able to secure a win in Toronto for the first time in their last nine trips up North.

All five of the Celtics starters scored in double figures, with Kemba Walker's 22 points adding to Brown's big game. Aside from a 27-point performance from Fred VanVleet, the Raptors desperately missed the offensive punch provided from their leading scorer in Pascal Siakam, who missed the game with a groin injury.

For more on Boston's win over their Atlantic Division rivals, we have you covered with some thoughts on the game below.

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1. First quarter of runs

The Raptors got their Christmas Day started off right with a 10-0 run in the first two minutes of the game, making four of their first five shots forcing the Celtics to take an early timeout.

Whatever Boston talked about and switched up during that timeout worked, as the team would outscore Toronto 28-9 the remainder of the frame to enter the second quarter with a 28-19 lead.

Kemba Walker's eight points paced the team's offence but it was reserve centre Enes Kanter who gave the Raptors' thin frontcourt fits. In just five minutes, Kanter checked in and added six points and three rebounds to put the pressure on Toronto's big men and change the momentum of the game.

2. Enes Kanter making the most of his first game back in Toronto

Due to an issue with the government in his home country of Turkey, Enes Kanter has not been able to leave the United States without fear of imprisonment, therefore, not being able to play in games in Toronto. He missed one game in Toronto last season as a member of the New York Knicks due to this problem.

At the start of the week, Kanter received word that Canada would give him a "safe entry" to the country so he could play with his team on Christmas Day.

Kanter made the most of that opportunity, stepping up for the Celtics by taking advantage of the Raptors' short-handed frontcourt.

He finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds in 18 solid minutes off the bench.

3. Kyle Lowry goes quiet

Kyle Lowry buried his first two shots of the game - a pair of 3-pointers to get his team out to that 10-0 lead in the first few minutes. The rest of the game was a completely different story.

While he did play quality defence throughout the game's entirety, you could not say the same about his offensive play.

With the team's leading scorer in Pascal Siakam out of the lineup, the Raptors desperately rely on Lowry's offence to pace the team. Without that production, Toronto couldn't find a consistent source of offence, aside from backcourt-mate Fred VanVleet.

After that first quarter, Lowry went 2-for-9 from the field and 1-for-4 from three for just eight points. He did have six more assists, but his shots weren't falling.

Lowry finished with 14 points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block, but his lack of scoring put the Raptors in a tough spot.

4. Fred VanVleet steps up

Fred VanVleet has struggled since returning from his knee injury. Over those three games, he was shooting 16-for-49 (25.8%) from the field and 3-for-19 (18.2%) from beyond the arc averaging 14.0 points.

He finally found his rhythm in this one, scoring a team-high 27 points to go with six assists, four rebounds and four steals. He scored efficiently, too, going 11-for-21 from the field and 2-for-5 from 3-point land.

While there wasn't many encouraging things to take away from this loss, VanVleet getting back into a groove is certainly one positive.

5. Jaylen Brown's third quarter

Jaylen Brown put this game out of reach almost single-handedly in the third quarter.

The 23-year-old displayed one of the best offensive quarters of his career, pulling moves we've never seen out of his bag of tricks.

He scored 16 points going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from long range, building the Celtics' lead to a comfortable 19 points heading into the final frame.

To put an exclamation point on his ridiculous quarter, he reached deep into his arsenal of moves to come away with this half-spin turnaround jumper.

Brown finished with a game-high 30 points to go with six rebounds and four assists shooting 10-for-13 from the field and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.

6. Offensive rebounding and second chance points

This was one of the deciding factors in the first meeting in which the Celtics closed out a close fourth quarter victory over the Raptors back in October.

In that contest, Boston had 21 offensive rebounds to Toronto's five. The Celtics killed the Raptors on the offensive glass again in this one, this time by a margin of 13-7.

Jayson Tatum had four offensive boards while Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter had three apiece to lead the team.

This led to a 24-4 differential in second chance points, helping Boston's decisive victory.

7. This was the Raptors first loss after leading by double digits

Entering this contest, Toronto was a perfect 18-0 in games that they had a double digit lead at any point. They were the only team in the NBA that had yet to surrender a double digit lead and that changed in this one, as the Raptors got out to a 10-0 lead to start the game.

The Celtics immediately responded with a 9-0 run of their own to draw themselves near-even and eventually took the lead in the first quarter, never to give it up again.

8. The Raptors NBA-record win streak comes to an end

It had been four-and-a-half years since the Raptors lost a home game against their Atlantic Division foes.

They had 34-consecutive wins in Toronto against the Atlantic Division, including eight-straight wins over the Celtics in Canada.

Boston finally snapped that streak with today's win, but the Raptors still own them at Scotiabank Arena. They've won 12 of the last 14 games against the Celtics in Toronto.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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