This is what Boston Celtics fans wanted in game 4. An absolutely dominant performance from the C’s tonight. At their best this is what they are capable of, and they proved they should be in the conversation for a true contender tonight. Of course, the series is not over yet, and the Toronto Raptors certainly will play with more fire Wednesday with their season actually on the line this time.
The tone was set in the first quarter by some suffocating defense. Everyone was rushing to contest shots, and making smart plays when it came to anticipating passing lanes. A really great move by Brad Stevens made in the first quarter was sticking Marcus Smart on the ball handler (usually either Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet) each time the Raptors had a full court set, and then having Kemba Walker guard the off ball guard. Smart would hound them from half and really set the tone for the rest of defense. Hats off to Daniel Theis as well, as he really controlled the paint in this one as well. You can see his impact quite clearly when Rob Williams subbed on and the Raptors immediately targeted him in the pick and roll, and went on a little run. Combine that paint presence with a more engaged perimeter defense, and you see where the basis of this win came from.
To top it off, it was a much more efficient night offensively as well. Great bounce back games from Jaylen Brown and Marcus, along with the usual great play from Kemba. Jayson Tatum wasn’t great, but was good enough in this one. Another tip of the cap to Brad Wanamaker, who really brought it on both ends of the court tonight and had arguably one of his best games in a Celtics uniform. The momentum is back on the Celtics side, and they know now they can’t let Toronto get it back. If they play with the same energy as tonight, you can expect this series to wrap up on Wednesday.
(Originally posted on September 7, 2020)