TORONTO – Jaylen Brown scored 23 points as the Boston Celtics spoiled the Toronto Raptors’ In-Season Tournament opener with a 108-105 win 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 group play and sits atop East Group C.
The In-Season Tournament was introduced for the 2023-24 season.
Pascal Siakam and Dennis Schroder had 23 points apiece for Toronto (5-7), which donned its new gold and black city edition jerseys, with the court painted black and grey.
The NBA Cup logo was displayed in the paint on both ends and at centre court with the Raptors logo in in the middle of it.
The Raptors’ next tournament game will be in Orlando against the Magic on Nov. 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 remaining in the first quarter.
However, the Raptors’ momentum took a hit when Siakam was called for a questionable third foul and a coach’s challenge was unsuccessful. A layup followed by a hook shot from Jalen McDaniels allowed Toronto to close the frame up 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 put a bow on a 39-point Celtics frame with a buzzer-beating three-pointer on a beautiful play and Boston took a 65-49 edge at halftime.
Schroder scored six points in a 9-0 Raptors run to open the third quarter. Siakam found Jakob Poeltl for a layup to give the Raptors their first lead, 77-76, since early in the second quarter with 2:58 remaining.
However, the lead was short-lived as the Celtics ended the frame up 84-81.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair with numerous ties and lead changes.
Poeltl’s putback layup with 1:19 left gave the Raptors a 103-101 lead, but Kristaps Porzingis immediately tied it for Boston with a hook shot 18 seconds later.
A Derrick White corner three with 26.8 seconds left put the Celtics ahead, leading to a Toronto timeout.
With 11.1 seconds left, Scottie Barnes missed a corner three to tie it, taking the air out of Scotiabank Arena. Boston closed it out on free throws from there.
Each conference is split up into three groups of five teams, with each squad playing four games within its group — two at home and two on the road — for an opportunity to move on to the knockout rounds.
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Group play began Nov. 3 and ends Nov. 28 across the NBA. Chicago, Brooklyn and Orlando are the other teams in East Group C alongside Toronto and Boston.
Eight teams across the league, consisting of the six group leaders and two wild-card teams, will advance for a shot at the NBA Cup. The quarterfinals will be Dec. 4-5 in NBA team markets, while the semifinals on Dec. 7, and the championship on Dec. 9, will be played in Las Vegas.
Every game except the championship also counts in the regular-season standings.
Toronto was missing forwards O.G. Anunoby (right finger laceration), Thaddeus Young (illness) and Otto Porter Jr. (personal reasons) from the rotation. Centre Christian Koloko remained out with a respiratory illness.
The Raptors close a four-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
The Celtics 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
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