Toronto Raptors will need to dig deep for response after Game 1 loss

Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors face a tough hill to climb after a humbling Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics where they failed to show their championship form.

Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors will have to go back to the drawing board as the defending champions looked anything but that against the Boston Celtics in Game 1.

From the start of the game, it was clear that Toronto was not ready for what Boston had to throw at them offensively and when it was time for the Raptors’ top players to try and pick the team up, they weren’t able to. As much as been made about the team’s ability to withstand the departure of Kawhi Leonard, a player like him would have made a big difference in a game like this.

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At the same time, the Raptors’ struggles can’t be pinpointed to the absence of one player considering how large the gap was in this game. To say there are early signs of concern would be an understatement but this is also a seven-game series.

When fall behind by 19 points in the first quarter, it’s tough to overcome especially with the way the Celtics were shooting in this game. This could easily be connected to the team’s shooting struggles as they went 36.4 per cent from the field while committing 11 fouls and six turnovers.

The Raptors’ depth was supposed to be their strength in this series and in Game 1, Boston showed their ability to spread things around.  Six different Celtics finished in double digits in points with Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum scoring 21 points apiece and it was certainly by design as they wanted to force the Raptors’ defence to work.

What can provide some comfort to fans is knowing that the performance from Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam were uncharacteristic. VanVleet did find ways to get involved offensively registering eight assists but Toronto is going to need more than 11 points from him especially when he went 3-for-16 from the field and 2-for-11 from deep.

Siakam has not looked like himself since NBA action returned in the bubble and it can’t be overstated how much his play hurt his team in Game 1. He would finish the game with13 points on 5-for-16 shooting from the field and continued to turn the ball over far too frequently.

In the first half, Serge Ibaka did his best to try and provide a spark with 12 points but like most of his teammates, the frustration started to settle in. This is where the Raptors experience will have to come through if they want to avoid an 0-2 hole.

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What did you think went wrong for the Raptors in Game 1? How can they turn things around in the series? Let us know in the comments below.