Toronto Raptors made it difficult to defend their NBA championship ring after conceding their second loss in the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff to Boston Celtics on Tuesday, which won 102-99, in a good game by Serge Ibaka and more discreet by Marc Gasol.
Nick Nurse’s men had to react after being widely dominated by Brad Stevens’s in Sunday’s opener, and even though they did, a poor last quarter doomed them to a second loss that puts more pressure on the Canadian franchise.
After a very close first half (50-48), the Raptors came out of the locker room strong and reached the last quarter with a good advantage (70-78). However, then the figure of Marcus Smart appeared, who with five triples at the beginning of the final twelve minutes, equalized everything again.
The current champions got stuck offensively and received a 9-0 partial from their rival to definitively turn the scoreboard (95-87) in the absence of just over four minutes. Toronto reacted and two free throws by Kyle Lowry put one to their own (100-99), but a loss by Pascal Siakam was key and Fred VanVleet’s final triple did not enter.
Regarding the performance of the Spanish players, the Spanish-Congolese Serge Ibaka shone more by touching the ‘double-double’ with 17 points, with 3/5 in triples, nine rebounds and two blocks, while the Catalan Marc Gasol was eliminated for personal fouls and was left with six points and four sacks.
- STATISTICS OF SPANISH PLAYERS.
MARC GASOL: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
SERGE IBAKA: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.