The Boston Celtics pulled off a big win Saturday night, beating the Toronto Raptors 106-104. It was a hard-fought competition that Toronto controlled for most of the game. Despite this, Boston continued to press and eventually prevailed.
There was plenty of late-game drama when the final moments mattered. With less than 15 seconds to go, Pascal Siakam drove to the hoop but Al Horford blocked the shot and forced a jump ball. After the game, however, Siakam called out Horford and said he felt “a lot of hands” in the game – he thought he had been fouled.
“To be honest, I don’t know” Siakam said via CLNS Media. “For me it felt like there were many hands. [It] could have gone either way. I thought it was a foul, but again it wasn’t announced. And I got the ball back, and I thought so [was] still in game. But I didn’t get it.”
Horford won the jump ball but was immediately tied up with Scottie Barnes, resulting in another jump ball – which Horford won again. However, Grant Williams fouled Toronto before the ball was thrown in, returning possession to the Raptors. Luckily for Boston, Horford Siakam stole the ball before the Raptors could get a shot and the Celtics walked away with the win.
The Celtics’ big man made it big for Boston for the second straight season. He finished the night with just five points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block on a rough 2-of-10 shooting from the field and a 1-of-6 shooting from deep. However, his play in the final moments – winning two jump balls and making the game-winning steal – was enough for him to make his mark.
As for Siakam, the Raptors star finished the game with 29 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists on 14-of-23 shots from the field and 0-of-4 shots from beyond the three-point arc.
As if that wasn’t enough drama, the Celtics struggled with multiple injuries. Jaylen Brown kneeled Robert Williams and Marcus Smart suffered a non-contact ankle injury. Both were ruled out at half-time for the remainder of the game.
But after the game Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported that Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla gave a positive update on both boys’ injuries.
“Joe Mazzulla said Rob Williams hyperextended his knee, but it’s nothing serious. Marcus Smart’s knee is doing well but his rolled ankle will be an everyday issue per Mazzulla at this point,” Weiss tweeted.
But despite the injuries and the hard-fought clash against Toronto (in which Boston missed out on Jayson Tatum), they still sit at the top of the NBA. And according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the Celtics are the best team in the league.
“Boston is the best team in basketball,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “They can hurt you in many ways. Right now, I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that Jayson Tatum is a leading league MVP candidate; He’s a superstar. They have the best depth in the NBA, you could argue about Denver, but I’ll start with the Celtics. And not to mention the fact that their defense can take it up a notch when Robert Williams is on the pitch. Right now, the Boston Celtics are by far the favorites to win it all.”