CELTICS 118, RAPTORS 102 QUOTES: “We weren’t quite physical enough I thought, for most stretches of the game. I thought they got a lot of stuff right at the rim, they had five second-chance layups early, a couple of post ups where they just turned right to the rim and laid it in. So we weren’t doing a good job, we did a little better job on some of that stuff later, then they started making a bunch of 3s.” –NICK NURSE

(21-7) BOSTON CELTICS, 118 VS. (21-10) TORONTO RAPTORS, 102 SCOTIABANK ARENA WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2019

TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES

NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)

On being the first time the team was off at both ends of the floor … Yeah, we weren’t quite physical enough I thought, for most stretches of the game. I thought they got a lot of stuff right at the rim, they had five second chance layups early, a couple of post ups where they just turned right to the rim and laid it in. So we weren’t doing a good job, we did a little better job on some of that stuff later, then they started making a bunch of threes. We were little out of it, it was an out of rhythm game for us, that’s for sure.

On the afternoon game and cumulative effect of the last few games being a factor … There’s has been really tough stretches in all these last games, as you know. Big swings in play and the scoring is not very easy for us right now, it’s tough. We just had some rotten luck too. We dribbled it off our foot a couple of times, we dropped a couple that we were going in for lay ups. You can’t kind of self-inflict some of that stuff either. You have got to value the ball a little bit better. 17 turnovers for 20 points, I don’t know how many second chance points they ended up with – 24 – that’s going to spell trouble those two numbers above 20 in the same game. It’s unfortunate we just didn’t play very well today.

On Kemba Walker shaking loose for those threes … We were kind of in our coverage there, we were just hoping we could get back and at least rearview challenge him on those. After he made the two we switched matchups, switched coverages and cleaned that up a little bit. He is going to score some, he is going take some shots and we thought we did a pretty good job for the most part and then he shook free for those back to back ones in the second half.

On needing Patrick McCaw to be more aggressive on offence … Yeah, I’d like him to bring the ball more when he gets the rebounds. I think his speed up the floor could get us in transition, then he can get into the paint when we are running Kyle (Lowry) and Fred (VanVleet) down the wings or something, so get our shooting on the outside a little bit. Just, I think those guys all need to be aggressive, Pat, Terence (Davis), Chris (Boucher) is aggressive by nature, Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) is pretty aggressive as well, but those guys you now, they have to come in and take the opportunities that are there sometimes.

CHRIS BOUCHER (24 points, six rebounds)

On getting down big in games lately… Obviously it’s not good. It’s never good when you are too down and you have to find a way to get back. We have to find a way to get started, be able to get a lead or something like that because it’s gets hard to come back from 15 or 20. We did it once, but that’s not something we want to do every day.

On playing against teams with size… They hit a lot of tough shots, too. I feel like we had a run and they called a foul and that kind of got us messed up. They’ve got vets and they got a lot of offensive rebounds at the beginning and that kind of got us in a hole. Coach made a point about that, we have to find a way to box out and sandwich guys. If I have to think about something we have to get better at, that’s what it is.

KYLE LOWRY (14 points, eight assists)

On getting down big in recent games… We’ve done it the last couple of games and that’s a well-coached team, a hard-playing team. Jaylen Brown and Kemba (Walker), those guys played extremely well and made a lot of shots, so trying to get back was a little bit tougher tonight than before.

What needs to be done differently early in games to avoid getting down big? Just continue to play harder, get better shots. When teams go on a run we have to make sure we get a bucket, get a stop, get a score, get back out on transition. We are at our best when we get out on transition, get stops, but tonight they were scoring so much and second chance points. At one point they had 13 more shots than us and that’s what they’ve done to us the two games we’ve played, they’ve had more shots at the rim and second chance points.

BOSTON CELTICS QUOTES

BRAD STEVENS (HEAD COACH)

Was the defence tonight as important as the offence? Until the end, gave up a bunch of layups that were uncontested at the end. They are a hard team to guard. Those guards put a lot of pressure on you and then (Chris) Boucher was great today, with both rolls and pops. But I thought our guys competed on that end of the court for the most part. Obviously everybody is acutely aware of the comeback the other day in here, so when we up whatever and they started to cut it back, a couple of those threes were huge to kind of stem the tide.

Was there anything to say when you were down 10-0? That’s part of it sometimes, they hit us early but I thought we recovered well and made enough plays there, we got it back to I think 10-9 before they scored again. Then it was back to a back-and-forth for a while, so that’s not an ideal start but they go on runs. They are a team that can go on runs in a heartbeat.

On having Gordon Hayward out there… I think what it allows you to do is it allows you to keep two of those guys on the court at one time. When we subbed out Gordon and Kemba (Walker), you are able to keep Jaylen (Brown) and Jason (Tatum) on the court or vice versa, whatever, some combination of that. That will only get better when (Marcus) Smart gets back. I thought a lot of our other guys played good roles next to them. I thought Romeo (Langford) was really solid again, I thought (Enes) Kanter obviously came in and gave us a great deal on the low post, especially in the first half.

JAYSON TATUM (11 points, nine rebounds, six assists)

What does it mean to you to play on Christmas and get another win? It’s a big deal to play on Christmas and coming up here and getting a win on the road. That’s a really good team – a tough place to play.

Was it an off shooting night for you? You’ve got to find other ways to impact the game, but we came out with a win. That’s the most important.

On advice to Kemba Walker before the Christmas day game… No. I mean, he’s been in this league longer than me. It was a big deal for him, and he was great.

JAYLEN BROWN (30 points, six rebounds and four assists)

What got you going in the third quarter? Just being aggressive. I think just trying to get involved. I didn’t take a lot of shots so I was just trying to be as efficient as possible.

On his game… Just trying to be efficient. I think that was the goal, just trying to be aggressive. I’m trying to make every shot and not wasting any motion. I think it was good to get a win here on Christmas. I’ve never won here period. It was great to get one.

On the Raptors… It’s a well-coached team with some hungry, good players that play well together. We knew at any given moment they could turn it on so we had to weather the storm and continue to play good basketball.

Did you sense your hot streak in the third quarter coming? Yeah, I was feeling good. Was just trying to play within the game, not a lot of play calls, just scoring within the game. It kind of led to making baskets and being efficient. However it goes out there, just trying to take advantage of every opportunity that you get.

How many tricks do you have left in your bag after today? A whole lot, a whole lot. For me it’s just continuing to understand and see the game, make the right reads, make the right play. As I gain more trust within the organization, the coaching staff I can take it to another level.

Why are the Celtics so difficult to guard? The key is to let the game dictate. I think we are all capable of doing multiple things, we’re all interchangeable, so I think that’s what makes us hard to guard. It’s not necessarily dictated to one position or one spot, we can all interchange in terms of coming off of the ball, screens or someone cutting or someone in the corner, I think that’s what makes us dangerous. As we get better, I think that the rhythm and the flow as we continue to be in multiple spots makes it harder to guard different guys in different spots.

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