Celtics-Raptors takeaways: Undermanned C's come up short in OT


The severely shorthanded Boston Celtics had their six-game win streak snapped by the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

It was an uphill battle for the C's as they were down four of their starters -- Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Robert Williams. Despite the disadvantage, they took Toronto to overtime in what was a valiant effort for the JV squad. They simply ran out of gas in the final minutes, leading to a 115-112 Raptors win.

Marcus Smart took over as the Celtics' top scorer with 28 points on the night. Grant Williams and Derrick White added 17 and 15, respectively.

Pascal Siakam was a thorn in Boston's side throughout the contest. The big man put up 40 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead Toronto to victory.

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Here are three instant takeaways from Boston's loss, which brings them to 47-29 on the season and back down to fourth place (one game back) in the Eastern Conference standings. Next up is a Wednesday night matchup vs. the top-seeded Miami Heat at TD Garden.

An admirable team effort

Don't expect the Celtics to celebrate moral victories, but they have plenty to be proud of despite the disappointing result.

Seven of the eight C's to play in Monday night's game scored in double figures. Smart led the way with a season-high 28 points, but Boston benefitted from several of its reserves stepping up when called upon.

Aaron Nesmith set the tone with his hustle and was a key contributor down the stretch. The second-year wing finished with 13 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3-PT) in 39 minutes. He drilled a huge 3-pointer to put the Celtics up four with less than one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

That clutch shot got his sidelined C's teammate Robert Williams fired up:

Nesmith also impressed on the defensive end and racked up three steals.

Daniel Theis also played a significant role in Williams' absence. The German big man logged a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. He also had two blocks on the night, plus this posterization of Pascal Siakam.

Sam Hauser hit some big shots off the bench to finish in double figures (10 points, 4-4 FG, 2-2 3-PT) for the first time in his NBA career. Payton Pritchard also had 10 points but his hot streak from 3 came to an end as he was just 2-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Turnovers prove costly

Without question, carelessness with the basketball is what cost the Celtics their seventh straight win on Monday night. They turned the ball over 18 times (11 in the first half) and Toronto took advantage with 26 points off turnovers. 

The absences of Tatum, Brown and Williams certainly didn't help Boston in that department. Without them, Smart -- who has thrived in the starting point guard role this season -- found himself trying to do a bit too much. That resulted in a game-high seven turnovers for the longest-tenured Celtic.

Grant Williams added four turnovers of his own, including one late in overtime when Boston had the chance to squeak out the victory.

Pascal Siakiam shines light on Robert Williams' absence

The Celtics just didn't have an answer for Siakam with Robert Williams out due to a meniscus tear in his left knee.

Siakam propelled the Raptors to the OT win with 40 points, 25 of which were scored in the first half. The 27-year-old is only the third player to score 40 points against the C's this season.

Without Time Lord or Horford patrolling the paint, Siakam was able to use his size to his advantage. Theis, Grant Williams, and Boston's smaller defenders were no match for him throughout the game as he converted on 17 of his 29 shot attempts (13 of his first 20).

Siakam's performance, plus Toronto's 66 points in the paint, was a harsh reminder of Rob Williams' importance to this Celtics team. Horford will help when he returns, but Boston will have to figure out a better way to stop big men of Siakam's caliber in these final six regular-season games and through the playoffs.

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