In a series-altering Game 5, the Boston Celtics dominated the Toronto Raptors from start to finish.
The Celtics balanced scoring attack saw six different players score in double figures led by a 27-point bounce back effort from Jaylen Brown and 21 points on an efficient 15 shots from Kemba Walker. The Raptors couldn't get much of anything going from the start, shooting 38.8% from the field and 30.0% from 3-point land.
For more on this lopsided Game 5, we have you covered below.
Celtics win battle of the Big 3
No, no one has really called it the battle of the Big 3, but the bulk of scoring in this series has come down to Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker versus Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.
In Game 5, it was the Celtics' three bucket-getters who won the scoring battle.
|Total||66 (23-48 FG)||Total||38 (14-31 FG)|
More often than not, whichever group tallies more points is going to put their team in a position to win the game. Tonight, it was Boston's core that got the job done.
Raptors slow start
The Raptors were on the wrong side of history after the first quarter.
Their 11 points in the first frame marked the fewest points scored by a team in any quarter of a playoff series after the first round since 1991, per The Athletic's Jared Weiss.
Boston's defence was clicking and Toronto's box score clearly represented that. Lowry, VanVleet, Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell went a combined 0-for-11 from the field.
As a team, they shot 4-for-20 (20%) from the field and 1-for-9 (11.1%) from 3 to go with six turnovers - a recipe for disaster. They trailed 25-11 heading into the second quarter.
It didn't get much prettier in the second frame, only tallying 35 points by halftime - the lowest scoring total by any team at the half so far this postseason. The Celtics 27-point lead at the half, on the other hand, joined the right side of history.
Boston's 27-point lead at halftime is the team's 2nd-largest halftime lead in a postseason game in the Shot Clock Era (since 1954-55). Boston led the Lakers by 30 at halftime of Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals and won that game 148-114. @ESPNStatsInfo- Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) September 7, 2020
Brown's bounce back game
Brown had one of his worst offensive games of the season in Game 4. Missing his first nine attempts from beyond the arc, Brown was guessing on every shot attempt.
In Game 5, it was different from the get-go. Brown buried his first 3-point attempt of the game to take the lid off the rim right away. He'd continue to attack on offence, including this vicious payback dunk for OG Anunoby's Game 3 game-winner in Brown's face.
Jaylen Brown INCOMING! 😤 pic.twitter.com/YIm7Af37vH- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 7, 2020
Brown would finish with a game-high 27 points shooting 10-for-18 from the field and 3-for-7 from 3-point land.
The Celtics advance to 15-0 on the season when Brown scores 25 or more points.
Early foul trouble for VanVleet
VanVleet picked up three fouls in the first half, disrupting his rhythm early in the game.
Head coach Nick Nurse trusted VanVleet, letting him play through foul trouble, but it still played a hand in a timid start to the game. VanVleet shot 1-for-7 from the field and 0-for-2 from 3 in the first half, scoring just four points.
Nurse's trust was validated, as VanVleet didn't pick up an extra foul before the second half, but he still couldn't get into a groove early on.
The third quarter was a different story as VanVleet finally found his stroke. He scored 12 quick points in the period shooting 5-for-6 from the field, but his effort was too late. Regardless, it's still encouraging to see him end the game on a high note, building some momentum heading into a crucial Game 6.
Siakam can't avoid foul trouble, either
Siakam came out of the halftime gate gunning, just as we've seen previously in this series.
He's used the early third quarter to start attacking the basket and get his shots up, in this case, trying to will the Raptors back into the game. He exceeded his first half scoring output in just six minutes of the third quarter, going for six quick points, but foul trouble got the best of Siakam again.
He'd pick up his fifth foul midway through the frame fighting for a loose ball and would be forced to head to the bench to avoid potentially fouling out.
This is the third time this series that Pascal has found himself on the bench because of foul trouble. He picked up four fouls in Games 1 and 3, making it difficult to really get going with sporatic playing time in each of those contests.
If the Raptors are going to force a Game 7, they're going to need their All-Star forward to defend without fouling and stay on the floor.
The Raptors will look to keep their season alive and force a Game 7 when they take on the Celtics for Game 6 on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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