Stars, studs and duds: Final six minutes 'crushed' Celtics vs. Raptors

Stars, studs and duds: Final six minutes 'crushed' Celtics vs. Raptors

No matter where Isaiah Thomas sprinted to on the floor, there was seemingly one or two defenders with him, awaiting him or on his heels.

The Toronto Raptors did all they could to take away as much of Thomas’ airspace as possible.

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And he still managed to score 27 points and dish out seven assists.

Thomas got solid contributions from his teammates offensively.

But their defense more than anything else, was to blame for Tuesday’s 114-108 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

“We didn’t make plays,” Thomas told reporters after the game. “We didn’t make shots on the offensive end. And on top of that we didn’t get stops. They got into a rhythm. They scored at will the last part of six minutes.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments:

“The last six minutes of the third quarter crushed us and the last six minutes of the fourth,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “It was like 42-15 in those time frames.”

Despite the loss, Stevens said he took more positives away from the loss than negatives.

Al Horford believes in the long run, the Celtics will benefit from having gone through a game like this.

“This is a good learning experience for our team,” Horford told reporters. “We’ll grow from this. We really had this game in control and just let it get away.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s game.

STARS

DeMar DeRozan: He was a man among boys in the second half which is when he scored 31 of his game-high 41 points.

Isaiah Thomas: Thomas did a nice job of balancing his scoring with getting others involved, scoring a team-high 27 points with seven assists which was also a team high for Boston.

Kyle Lowry: Extremely efficient with the ball, Lowry had 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting with nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.

STUDS

Marcus Smart: It was a solid night for Smart who is still filling in for Avery Bradley (Achilles injury). Smart had 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting with four rebounds and five assists with four steals and a blocked shot.

Jonas Valanciunas: Boston had no answer for how to keep him off the boards, as he finished with a double-double of 18 points and 23 rebounds with two blocked shots.

Al Horford: It was yet another stat-stuffing night for Horford. He had 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting, to go with nine rebounds and four assists.

DUDS

Patrick Patterson: He’s usually a wild card that winds up hurting the Celtics, but not so on Tuesday night. He was scoreless for the Raptors in 21 minutes, missing all three of his field goal attempts while racking up four personal fouls.

Watch Marcus Smart, Jimmy Butler get in dustup in Game 4

Watch Marcus Smart, Jimmy Butler get in dustup in Game 4

Marcus Smart and Jimmy Butler had to be separated by a referee during the second quarter of Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls Sunday.

Butler and Smart engaged in some light hand-fighting after Isaiah Canaan scored off a turnover by Smart. The Celtics guard quickly lost the ball in the Celtics' half of the court on his first turnover game.

When Smart grabbed the ball after it fell through the hoop on Canaan's layup, Butler moved close to Smart. The two exchanged words before shoving each other.

Referees, Celtics players and Bulls players rushed into the mix, but the physicality did not escalate. The scrum broke up without additional shoving.

Watch the dustup in the tweet below or the video above.

No lineup changes for either Bulls or Celtics in Game 4

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No lineup changes for either Bulls or Celtics in Game 4

CHICAGO -- It's a given the Chicago Bulls will make some adjustments heading into tonight's Game 4 matchup against the Boston Celtics, but a tweak to the starting lineup won't be one of them.
 
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg confirmed that his starting lineup will be the same as it was in Game 3, with Jerian Grant filling in at point guard in place of the injured Rajon Rondo.
 
In Boston's 104-87 Game 3 victory, Grant had six points on 2-for-5 shooting with zero assists and four turnovers. His struggles prompted many to assume Hoiberg would seriously consider making a lineup change.
 
"Jerian has some experience. We had a long film session yesterday," Hoiberg said. "Had a good session on the floor."
 
Hoiberg added: "Jerian has been the guy that has filled in for us starting when things have happened for us this year. The biggest thing obviously, is we have to get out to a good start."
 
Boston began Game 3 with a 14-4 run and closed out the first quarter with a decisive 33-15 lead. For the last three quarters of play, it was a relatively even-played game.
 
"We'll give him the start and see how things go," Stevens said.
 
The Celtics will also stick to their Game 3 starting lineup, which included a backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, with Gerald Green, Jae Crowder and Al Horford in the frontcourt.
 
Green, who had eight points in his first start of the season, was inserted to help better space the floor for himself as well as his teammates.
 
The move worked as well as the Celtics could have expected, as they drained 17 3-pointers, the second-most in playoff franchise history, and the most 3-point makes by any team in the playoffs this year.
 
But Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows his team still has ground to make up in this series, one in which they trail 2-1.
 
"They're still up 2-1 and that [Game 3] could have gone either way," Stevens said. "We played well in the first [quarter] and well in the third. But they've given us a lot of fits. We're going to have to play better today to win; our guys know that. Guys are engaged, ready from a preparation standpoint."