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Toronto Raptors

Four takeaways from Toronto Raptors' dominant home win over Boston Celtics

The Toronto Raptors got a much needed win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, defeating their Eastern Conference-foe 118-95.

The victory split the season series with the Celtics at two games apiece with each team defending home court.

Here are your takeaways from the game...

Raptors' second quarter

The Raptors trailed by two points heading into the second quarter. Terry Rozier knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the Celtics' lead to four, and then the drought began.

Toronto rattled off an 18-0 run, holding Boston without a field goal for the first five minutes and 20 seconds in the quarter.

Even after the Celtics finally got a shot to fall, the Raptors kept their foot on the gas. They expanded upon their run, making it 29-5 to take a 20-point lead with just over three mintues left in the half.

Kawhi Leonard and Norman Powell's eight points each led the Raptors in scoring, but Kyle Lowry was far and away the best player on the floor in that stretch.

He only had one shot attempt - a 3-pointer in transition to keep Toronto's run going - but he was doing everything else to keep the wheels in motion. He had six assists and four rebounds, locked up on the defensive end, took a charge and finished the quarter with a plus-23.

Toronto shot 56.0 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. As for Boston, it was a dreadful 26.7 percent from the field, missing all of their 3-point attempts to go with eight turnovers - their second-to-worst quarter this season in terms of scoring, but quite possibly their overall worst quarter this year.

Lights-out perimeter shooting

It's no secret that the Raptors are at their best when they're knocking down the 3-ball.

On Tuesday, Toronto shot 17-for-36 from beyond the arc, good for a remarkable 47.2 percent. Pascal Siakam was deadly from both corners, shooting 4-for-5 from his hot spot. Norman Powell knocked down three of his four attempts with two of them igniting the second quarter run that blew the game open.

Danny Green and Serge Ibaka buried two 3-pointers apiece with Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, OG Anunoby, Jodie Meeks and Malcolm Miller all hitting one long-range shot to help toward one of their best shooting nights of the season.

With the addition of Gasol, every player on the Raptors' roster can now be a threat from 3-point range. You saw that on full display against Boston, as Toronto was able to make offence easy by stretching the Celtics all the way out to the perimeter no matter who was out there.

It opened up the lane for Siakam to attack the rim, gave Leonard space to knock down his midrange jumper and prevented Boston from being able to double him in the extended post.

Their team-wide hot hand from the outside made Kyle Lowry's life easy, as he was able to find several uncontested cutters for easy buckets inside.

The Raptors are now 19-1 in games where they shoot 40.0 percent or better from 3-point land.

Where was Kyrie?

Through the first three games against the Raptors, Kyrie Irving was purely unstoppable.

The All-Star point guard averaged 30.3 points on 60.0 percent shooting from the field and 46.7 percent from three, but even more impressive was his 11.7 assists average.

He was killing Toronto in every which way possible and they had no answer.

That was not the case on Tuesday - Irving scored seven points, tied for his second-lowest scoring total this season. He shot 3-for-10 from the field and only dished out five assists, the least against the Raptors this season.

So whose defence was responsible for this performance? It's more complicated than just one answer. Danny Green marked Irving to start the contest, but it was a team effort in slowing down the prolific scorer.

They did a fantastic job defending him in transition, preventing him from getting to the rim or dishing out to teammates running the floor with him. Toronto never allowed Irving to get comfortable on the offensive end, bringing multiple defenders anytime he tried to attack the rim.

Irving was forced to settle for a handful of jumpers on a night where they were not falling. It was an off-night for Kyrie, but a lot of that credit goes to the Raptors' team defence, forcing the ball out of Irving's hands trying to make other Celtics' players beat them.

The Celtics shot 38.4 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from 3-point land - both percentages are the second-worst in any game this season.

Home court advantage

The Celtics have not beaten the Raptors on their home floor since April 4, 2015. They are 12-0 at home versus Boston since that loss.

In fact, dating back to Dec. 13, 2015 the Raptors are a ridiculous 30-0 versus Atlantic Division opponents at home - the best of any team against their division in the NBA, per Sportsnet's Eric Smith.

With this win, the Raptors now have the third-best home winning percentage in the league.

They're setting themselves up for home court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs and that could be the difference maker in getting back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Should they match up with the Celtics in the playoffs, Boston's numbers don't look great against the conference's top teams on the road. While they boast a 6-1 record versus the top four teams in the East at home, they are a brutal 1-4 versus those teams on the road per John Schuhumann of NBA.com.

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