TORONTO – Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and the Boston Celtics spoiled the Toronto Raptors’ Season Tournament opener with a 108-105 victory on Friday night.
Jayson Tatum added 17 for Boston (10-2), which extended its winning streak to five games and improved to 2-0 in pool play and atop Group C of the East.
The Season Tournament was introduced for the 2023-24 season.
Pascal Siakam and Dennis Schroder each scored 23 points for Toronto (5-7), which wore its new gold and black City edition jerseys, with the court painted black and gray.
The NBA Cup logo was displayed in the paint on both ends and on center court with the Raptors logo in the middle.
The Raptors’ next tournament game will be in Orlando against the Magic on November 21.
Gary Trent Jr., who returned from a three-game absence due to a foot injury, and Siakam scored Toronto’s first 17 points. The Raptors led 24-16 with 5:22 left in the first quarter.
However, the Raptors’ momentum took a hit when Siakam was called for a questionable third foul and the coach’s challenge was unsuccessful. A layup followed by a hook from Jalen McDaniels allowed Toronto to close the score 32-26.
Boston went on a 12-2 run, capped by a Sam Hauser dunk, to take the lead 3:19 into the second quarter.
Tatum later ended a 39-point Celtics frame with a three-pointer at the buzzer on a beautiful play and Boston took a 65-49 lead into halftime.
Schroder scored six points on a 9-0 Raptors run to open the third quarter. Siakam found Jakob Poeltl for a layup that gave the Raptors their first lead, 77-76, since early in the second quarter with 2:58 left.
However, the lead was short-lived as the Celtics finished the quarter up 84-81.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair with numerous ties and lead changes.
A Poeltl layup with 1:19 left gave the Raptors a 103-101 lead, but Kristaps Porzingis immediately tied the score for Boston with a hook shot 18 seconds later.
Derrick White’s corner 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left put the Celtics ahead, leading to a timeout for Toronto.
With 11.1 seconds left, Scottie Barnes missed a three-pointer in the corner to tie the score, leaving the Scotiabank Arena gasping for air. Boston closed the game with free throws from there.
Each conference is divided into three groups of five teams, and each team plays four games within its group (two at home and two on the road) for a chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
Being trending now
Group play began on November 3 and ends on November 28 throughout the NBA. Chicago, Brooklyn and Orlando are the other teams in Group C East along with Toronto and Boston.
Eight teams from the league, consisting of six group leaders and two wild card teams, will advance for a shot at the NBA Cup. The quarterfinals will be on December 4 and 5 in NBA team markets, while the semifinals on December 7 and the championship on December 9 will be played in Las Vegas.
All games except the championship also count in the regular season standings.
Toronto was missing rotation forwards OG Anunoby (right finger laceration), Thaddeus Young (illness) and Otto Porter Jr. (personal reasons). Center Christian Koloko remained out due to a respiratory illness.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
The Raptors close out a four-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
The Celtics will play the third of a four-game road trip against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2023.
© 2023 The Canadian Press