While the Toronto Raptors found a way to improve in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics, the team is still lacking a key element that they will need to find.
For three quarters, it looked like the Toronto Raptors were in a strong position to get their second-round series against the Boston Celtics, then the fourth quarter happened.
When you see Marcus Smart score 16 points in the fourth quarter including five-straight three-pointers, it is certainly frustrating because Toronto could not get that. Despite a miserable fourth quarter, the Raptors still had a chance to tie the game but this is how the final three possessions went; Pascal Siakam missed a layup, followed by him turning the ball over then Fred VanVleet missed the final three-pointer.
It seemed like the entire fourth quarter was a desperate attempt to just throw whatever they could and hoped that something would stick. Seeing Toronto get outscored 27-21 by Smart and Kemba Walker says all that needs to be said about what this team is missing.
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After the opening round, Raptors fans were starting to get worried about how much VanVleet would cost to bring back. Safe to say the first two games have shown that maybe it’s a bit early to anoint him with a big payday right now.
This is why complaining about the calls going against the team isn’t going to solve what is truly plaguing them right now. As we found out in both games is not having a player of Kawhi Leonard‘s calibre is tough to overcome when you don’t see a clear replacement.
The regular season and post-season are two totally different things as we have seen throughout the years with this team. Right now, they seem to be more like the 2018 version of this team than 2019, which means seeing them moving on to the next round is going to be tough to envision.
Granted, the Celtics have played well with Jayson Tatum leading the way as the clear star. Unless someone on the Raptors is able to flash superstar potential by hitting tough shots in clutch situations, there is only so much Nick Nurse can game plan on the defensive side of the ball.
Really this should be on Siakam to regroup and try to carry what he did in the first half and keep it going to the end. The Celtics seemed to have been able to take advantage of this by forcing Siakam to make tough errors in the end especially with costly turnovers like he had in the final moments.
Boston also gave Toronto some open looks and you would think that having VanVleet wide open for a three would be a dream scenario. Even if VanVleet was struggling all game, hitting those shots late in the game mean that much more if they lead to a win as it did for Walker.
Unless this changes in Game 3, the Raptors will be in tough to cut into the Celtics lead.
What do you think the Raptors need to do to avoid and 0-3 hole? Can they get back in this series? Let us know in the comments below.