Toronto Raptors

Five takeaways from the Toronto Raptors 113-101 win over the Boston Celtics


The Toronto Raptors walked away with a 113-101 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night in their first of four meetings this season.

Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry all had big games for Toronto as they used a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to pick up their second win of the season.

The Raptors now head to Washington to play the Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back. The Celtics will look to bounce back in New York on Saturday night against the Knicks.

Here are five takeaways from Friday night's thriller.

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard finished with a double-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds - he showed flashes of the player he was two seasons ago, especially in the third quarter where he came out with a purpose netting 15 of his 31 points. He got to the foul line, making all his free throws (9-9) after looking shaky from the stripe in the preseason. He was efficient from three-point range shooting %40 - and when the game was on the line, he sold out for a tandem block with Danny Green, showing the hunger to make a huge defensive play with the game in the balance.

Leonard was the most dominant player on the floor on Friday night - and he still isn't where he can be. That's what makes the Raptors dangerous, and why the team has a legit shot at making a deep playoff run.

Serge Ibaka

Nick Nurse decided to insert Ibaka into the starting lineup on Friday night and it was absolutely the right call against the Celtics. Ibaka was engaged and active on both ends of the floor finishing with 21 points, six rebounds and a block.

It won't be every night that Ibaka will end up taking the second most shots on the team, but it's an encouraging sign for Raptors' fans that he's willing and able to make the defence pay for not respect his stroke.

Ibaka may not start every game going forward, and he probably shouldn't - but an engaged Ibaka might be the team's best option at the five in closing scenarios.

Kyle Lowry

Lowry quietly had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists on an efficient 5-8 from the field. He picked his spots offensively all night and played hard nose defence on the other end.

Leonard and Ibaka certainly had some big moments throughout the night but if Lowry doesn't put his body on the line not once but twice late in the fourth quarter taking two charges on Jayson Tatum the outcome may have been very different.

This team's roster has had an overhaul, but the heart and soul is still number 7.

Live by the three, live by the three?

The Raptors had 13 three-point attempts in the first quarter and they simply weren't falling. While the long ball is going to be a big part of the team's attack this season under Nurse they didn't settle for it and didn't abandon it either. Rather than taking triples for the sake of taking them, they took them in the flow of the offence.

After the first period, Toronto took 22 more three-pointers, making 10 of them. They also pounded the Celtics in the paint for 46 points.

Once the jitters were gone after a tight first quarter the offence was more fluid. They cut down on turnovers and it showed in the box score as they scored at least 30 points in each of the remaining three frames - and they did it against one of the league's better defensive teams.

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum is scary good and he's only going to get better. Tatum had 16 points, nine rebounds on Friday night, but shot himself in the foot with five turnovers.

At times on Friday, he looked like the game was almost too easy for him, and then other times he looked like he's in his second year in the NBA.

He no doubt has a long way to go before we truly see where his immense potential can take him - it's game two of his second season, but the makings are there for a player who will ultimately be the go-to guy for the Celtics - and it may be before they begin their playoff run in April.

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