The Boston Celtics destroyed the Toronto Raptors in game 1 of their best-of-7 series on Sunday afternoon 112-94.

The Celtics’ dominant Game 1 win over the Toronto Raptors featured a lot of great things for Boston, but there were three that stuck out to us:

1. Defense

Throughout the regular season and the eight seeding games leading into the playoffs, the Raptors were 13th in offensive rating. However, even that is misleading in a way.

While the Raptors are a competent offense, much of it can be attributed to transition – they are 2nd in transition offense (according to Cleaning the Glass) and first by a wide margin in frequency at 21.8%.

If we look at halfcourt only, the Raptors are a below-average offense at 17th in the league.

And if we take both of these facts into account, the Celtics are a nightmare matchup for the Raptors:

  • The Raptors’ have an elite transition offense → the Celtics have the best transition defense in the league.
  • And when forced to resort back to their mediocre half-court offense → Boston has the 4th best half-court defense in the league.

The Raptors have no answer for the Celtics’ defense and we saw that play out in Sunday afternoon’s annihilation.

Related: Were we right? Looking ahead to Boston’s second-round matchup

2. Turnovers

The Boston Celtics played a fantastic game 1, however, there was one blemish on their otherwise stellar performance – turnovers.

At the end of the day, the Toronto Raptors are still an excellent team, especially defensively and the Celtics turned it over to them 23 times.

Going forward if Boston turns the ball over that often, Toronto will be able to claw their way back and possibly even steal a game they shouldn’t have won.

Luckily the Raptors were unable to convert those turnovers into a ton of points. 23 turnovers only led to 15 Raptor points.

The Celtics are not a team that is known for turning the ball over, but the Raptors will be better on Tuesday and if Boston cant hold onto the ball this series could go a lot different than Game 1.

3. Marcus Smart

Even with his vastly improved offensive game, Marcus Smart is not known for his shot-making abilities. But, as Celtics fans know, every once in a while he catches fire.

Marcus Smart Game 1 Stats

  • 21 points
  • 60% FG
  • 56% 3pt FG
  • 6 rebounds
  • 4 assists
  • +27 +/-

Smart always seems to find himself at the top of the +/- stat but +27 is impressive even for him. The only person who was even close was Kemba Walker at +25 but after that, no one was over +11.

We know Marcus Smart will be a lockdown defender every night but when he heats up from three, the Celtics are nearly unbeatable.

The Celtics’ dominant Game 1 win over the Toronto Raptors had many aspects that could be expected to continue throughout the series, but the Raptors will be better come Tuesday.


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