The Boston Celtics went into Toronto for what they knew was going to be a tough game. The Celtics are surging and the Raptors struggling a bit, but sheer talent makes both teams contenders. Toronto has played Eastern Conference second-fiddle only to the Cavaliers in recent years, but the Celtics are on a mission to dethrone the Cavs first. It seemed the Celtics had caught a break in Toronto: Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry was out with a wrist injury and the Celtics looked like their surge would continue. Isaiah Thomas and company had a 17-point lead before the Raptors started to gel and roared back for a 117-97 win.
Lowry’s backcourt mate and fellow NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan raised his game, going for a career-high 43 points. But it was the addition of two unselfish big men that brightened the eyes of Toronto fans. Playoff tested Serge Ibaka played ferociously after his fortunate exile from lowly Orlando, scoring 15 points (his average) and grabbing 7 boards in 36 minutes, while shooting 58%. PJ Tucker, straight from Phoenix, grabbed 10 boards to go with his 9 points. The Raptors look revitalized.