In a showdown between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics got the better of the Toronto Raptors 117-108 on Wednesday night.
It was a collective offensive effort that pushed the Celtics past the Raptors on their home floor that saw All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving lead the way offensively in the contest. Irving put forth a huge performance with 27 points 11-of-19 shooting from the floor including going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc along with dishing out a career-best 18 assists.
He was the tone-setter on the floor for the Celtics behind his highly effective performance as he went 4-of-6 from the paint while drilling a pair of 3-pointers from the left wing in the contest. Irving has been the head of the snake offensively for Boston over the last two seasons since joining the franchise.
He has been progressively improving as the year has worn on and the more games he has gotten under his belt. This is an upward trend that should continue moving forward how dynamic of a scorer he is and the fact that he is their No. 1 offensive weapon. For the time being, Irving is coming off an impressive performance that was pivotal toward pushing his team to a win.
All-Star center Al Horford put forth a strong performance with 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Horford has seen put forth a strong performance in the paint going 5-of-7 from that spot while hitting a pair from distance from the top of the arc. He has been a steady option in the frontcourt being behind his consistent production.
Second-year forward Jayson Tatum put forth a solid offensive performance scoring 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor. Tatum was highly effective in the paint going 4-of-6 from the paint while hitting a 3-point from the left wing spot from distance. Tatum has been one of their most consistent scoring options on a nightly basis behind their balanced offensive attack.
Although it was a disappointing loss on the road, the Raptors did receive a strong offensive outing from All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who poured in a game-high 33 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor. Leonard was effective in the paint going 7-of-9 from the paint
He has been their leading offensive factor that has seen him put forth some strong performance. He has taken that up a notch over the last few weeks with 20 straight 20-point performances. During this span, he is averaging 29.7 points while shooting 52.3 from the field and 38.4 from three-point range. This is a trend that should continue to persist.
Forward Serge Ibaka also recorded a strong outing with 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the floor in the contest. This saw nearly all of his production come from the paint. Ibaka has been one of their primary scorers throughout the season and has strived off playing alongside Leonard as a scoring secondary option. He will have plenty more highly productive outings ahead of him over the rest of the season.