The final game of the regular season is never an easy one for teams to play. That point is especially true when neither team has anything at stake.
Wednesday night’s meeting between the Celtics and Raptors was one of those finales that featured two teams with nothing to lose. Boston’s playoff seeding was secured and Toronto’s offseason was set to begin once the final buzzer sounded.
Still, both teams began the game playing hard. They went back and forth for the first 15-plus minutes of the game and were tied up at 37-37 with 8:42 remaining. That was when the Celtics decided to sit back and relax as they looked toward the postseason.
Paul Pierce soon checked out of the game for good as he joined Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett, who did not play in the contest, on the bench. Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green barely appeared in the second half and Shavlik Randolph did not play at all in the second half.
With all of those players resting, the Celtics fell behind by double digits and wound up falling by 24 points. It took less than eight minutes for Toronto to take that tie game and turn it into a blowout, as it jumped ahead 59-45 when Landry Fields put home a layup with 1:04 remaining in the first half. Boston eventually wound up trailing by as many as 33 points on the way to its season-ending loss.
There wasn’t a whole lot for these two teams to play for tonight, but each roster can walk out of the Air Canada Centre with some form of accomplishment. Toronto can celebrate the fact that it finished its season with a resounding win over a playoff team. Boston, meanwhile, can rest well knowing that it accomplished its goal of resting the team’s top players in preparation for the playoffs.
Key Box Score Line
There weren’t a whole lot of positives for the Celtics on Wednesday, but Doc Rivers did get to watch his “X-factor” put forth a tremendous effort during extended playing time.
Jordan Crawford, who will serve as a key reserve in the postseason, led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists Wednesday night. He totaled 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, grabbed six boards and handed out five assists. Crawford ran up these stats during just more than 36 minutes of playing time off of the bench.
Boston certainly didn’t like the result of this game but it had to like what it saw out of Crawford. He asserted himself on the offensive end and that’s exactly what the C’s want from him in the playoffs.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce scored 11 points in 14 minutes of action.
- The Celtics' largest lead was just two points, while the Raptors led by as many as 33 points.
- Jordan Crawford led the Celtics in scoring with 16 points, tied Jeff Green for the team high in rebounds with six, and also tied Terrence Williams for the team high in assists with five.
- Toronto totaled 26 assists in the game.
- Landry Fields led the game in rebounds with 11 off of the bench.
- The teams combined to commit just 24 turnovers.
- Toronto scored at least 28 points in each of the first three quarters.
- DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 24 points.
- Both teams made at least 41.2 percent of their 3s.
- Every player who appeared in the game scored at least two points.
- Seven different Celtics grabbed at least one steal.
Quote of the Night
I love it, because it becomes just a war. It becomes a mental war, it really does. You have to have great focus. You're going to be taken out of your stuff. You have to be mentally tough enough to still execute. Doc Rivers on the NBA PlayoffsMore quotes >>