Toronto Raptors

Checking the temperature on hot-button topics following Toronto Raptors Game 1 loss to Boston Celtics

It wasn't pretty for the Toronto Raptors, as the Boston Celtics earned a wire-to-wire win in Game 1.

There are a number of concerns to address - the play of All-Star forward Pascal Siakam and first-round superstar Fred VanVleet, the Raptors' inability to score in the halfcourt once they were stopped in transition, Toronto's frontcourt being outplayed by Daniel Theis and Robert Williams. The list could go on from there.

Our Staff is here to check the temperature on these hot-button issues, dictating how worried we are on each topic.

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet's production

Siakam and VanVleet combined for 24 points on 8-for-32 (25.0%) shooting from the field and 2-for-14 (14.3%) from 3-point range in Game 1. While VanVleet was dynamite offensively in the first round, this Celtics defence is a lot better than that of the Brooklyn Nets. As for Siakam, he's struggled to find his touch from anywhere on the floor so far this playoffs.

Are you concerned about this? Yes or no.

- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): No.

Ask me after another game like this and I might be but I'm going to look at the glass half-full here and assume that Game 1 was more of an offensive anomaly. Siakam got some good looks early on but couldn't convert due to a lack of balance or rhythm or something. His rhythm was further disrupted by early foul trouble and I think he'll be primed to shake those issues off.

As for VanVleet, he's been so good throughout the restart that I think that once he sees the ball go in a few times, he'll be fine.

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): No.

One bad game doesn't undo an entire season's worth of evidence that both VanVleet and Siakam will bounce back from that poor outing. The Cs aren't the Nets - yes, we know that, but the Raptors aren't the 76ers either. They have weapons on offence that will adjust to whatever Boston can do defensively. Also, the Celtics shot extremely well from the field for large parts of that game. Can they do that again?

Toronto's transition offence

Pointed out as one of the biggest factors in this series, the Raptors scored 18.8 fast break points per game to lead the NBA this regular season. They replicated that in the first round, averaging a playoff-best 18.5 fast break points per game. As the Celtics are athletic enough to keep up with Toronto in transition, it makes life more difficult for the defending champions on the offensive end of the floor.

They only scored seven fast break points in Game 1.

Are you concerned about this? Yes or no.

- Irving

McGregor: Yes.

Transition scoring was outlined as a key to the series in the preview and it was clear that the Celtics would be focused on that, as Brad Stevens admitted after the first quarter of Game 1 that "if we let them score in transition, it's going to be a long series for us."

Boston boasts one of the league's best transition defences. Couple its defensive supremacy in the open floor with a game plan to limit Toronto's transition scoring and you've got a recipe worth worrying over.

Gay: Nah.

Again, it's tough to be concerned about it when you see the team shot as poorly as they did. I don't expect the Raptors to get the transition looks they did against the Nets, but I do expect them to execute better in the halfcourt than they did in Game 1. That should offset the lack of transition opportunities.

Losing the frontcourt battle

The Celtics are seen to be at a frontcourt disadvantage compared to the Raptors veteran duo of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. That certainly was not the case in Game 1, as Daniel Theis produced the best playoff game of his short NBA career with a double-double of 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to go with two blocks. Even 22-year-old centre Robert Williams brought more energy than Gasol and Ibaka, scoring 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field with five boards and two blocks.

Are you concerned about this? Yes or no.

- Irving

McGregor: No.

As you said, it was arguably the best playoff game of Theis' career and Williams certainly outplayed expectations. I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Gasol and Ibaka fell very short of what's typically expected of them, too.

If Gasol and Ibaka improve as I expect them to and Theis and Williams come back down to earth a bit, I sense a much more even matchup.

Gay: Heck no.

It's on Robert Williams and Daniel Theis (who I love by the way) to prove that over a seven-game series that they can replicate what they did in Game 1, not the other way around. Gasol and Ibaka are champions, Williams and Theis haven't put in the work for us to give them the benefit of the doubt yet.

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

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