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Toronto Raptors

Takeaways from the Boston Celtics' hard-fought win over the Toronto Raptors

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Pascal Siakam (NBA Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics handed the defending champion Toronto Raptors their first loss of the season in a hard-fought battle at the TD Garden.

The Raptors received stellar performances from their dynamic duo as Pascal Siakam (33 points and eight rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (29 points and seven assists) did all they could to lead their team to victory, but Toronto couldn't overcome 23 turnovers and a minus-16 offensive rebounding margin.

Jaylen Brown (25 points), Jayson Tatum (25 points) and Kemba Walker (22 points) gave the Celtics a balanced scoring attack, and Grant Williams' six offensive rebounds led what was a massive game for Boston on the glass.

For more on this great matchup between two Atlantic Division rivals, we have you covered with takeaways below...

Siakam overcomes slow start

Budding star Pascal Siakam did not get off to an ideal start in this contest as two quick first quarter fouls only allowed him to play six minutes in the first quarter.

He went into the second quarter scoreless but found his rhythm just in time to keep the Raptors close at the half. Siakam scored 10 points in the second frame alone, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to go with three rebounds.

Halftime couldn't cool him off - Siakam exploded for 15 points in the third quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers to give the Raptors a lead going into the fourth.

Toronto didn't sustain that lead, but Siakam's final stat line of 33 points (11-22 FG), eight rebounds and two assists was still encouraging after coming out of the gate slowly. He was assertive in demanding the ball down the stretch and had a couple tough finishes that kept the Raptors close in the fourth quarter.

It was impressive enough that Siakam was able to knock down a career-high five 3-pointers, but what's even more impressive is where he hit them from. Last season, the majority of Siakam's 3-pointers were spot-up attempts in the corners. All five of his 3s came from above the break in this one, with one of them even coming off the dribble.

His growth over the course of last season was enough to earn him the Most Improved Player award. Through just two games as the Raptors' go-to guy this season, we've already seen even more signs that the 25-year-old will continue to improve his game.

Offensive rebounding and turnovers

The biggest difference-maker in this contest came down to offensive rebounding and turnovers.

The undersized Celtics, who were out-rebounded by 21 on opening night, out-hustled the Raptors in this contest, winning the battle of the boards, 56-46.

Boston finished with 21 offensive rebounds, including two massive offensive boards in the final minute of a two-possession game after Toronto had come up with the stops they needed. The Celtics' 21 offensive rebounds contributed to 31 (!) more field goal attempts than the Raptors, who grabbed just five offensive rebounds.

Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis all grabbed three offensive boards, while rookie forward Grant Williams corralled six offensive boards in huge minutes off the bench for Boston.

The Raptors also struggled to take care of the ball with 23 turnovers, which the Celtics turned into 26 points. Boston only had 10 turnovers, resulting in eight points for Toronto.

Kemba's Boston debut

Kemba Walker's first game in a Celtics uniform didn't go as planned. The All-NBA guard finished with 12 points, shooting 4-for-18 (22.2%) from the field in their season-opening loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

With this contest being Walker's first game in Boston, it was expected to be a rebound performance for the newly signed All-Star.

With the way Walker started this contest, it looked like more of the same from his debut. His struggles continued as he couldn't get much of anything to fall again in the first half. Walker shot 1-for-9 from the field for just four points at halftime.

He still couldn't get things going in the third quarter, but came alive in the fourth when Boston needed him most.

Walker scored 11 of his 22 total points in the fourth quarter. After converting just four field goals through the first three frames, Walker went 4-for-9 from the field in the fourth to help carry his team to victory.

His 22 points came along with six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, as well as a couple of big offensive fouls drawn, proving he didn't let his rough shooting night get the best of him.

Lowry's big game

The final result doesn't show it, but Kyle Lowry just might have been the best player on the floor.

Lowry was doing a little bit of everything for the Raptors throughout the entire game. His consistency from quarter-to-quarter played a huge role in them maintaining a lead or staying close when the Celtics would make a run.

Lowry finished with 29 points shooting an efficient 11-for-18 (61.1%) from the field while going 6-for-10 from 3-point range. He had a number of strong takes to the rim and was bombing from the perimeter, converting at a high clip.

The All-Star point guard also had a game-high seven assists to go with four rebounds, one steal and one block.

He out-played Walker for the majority of the game and had the Raptors pulled off this tough road win, it would have been Lowry's consistent effort that got them over the hump.

Brown bounces back

It was a frustrating opening night for Jaylen Brown, who got into early foul trouble in the Celtics' loss to the 76ers. His time spent on the bench made it tough to get into any sort of rhythm and his final stat line suffered because of it.

In this contest, Brown was the best player on the floor for the Celtics - a great sign after the near-max contract extension he received just before the start of the season.

Brown tied Jayson Tatum with a team-high 25 points and was efficient in doing so, shooting 11-for-20 (55.0%) from the field. He played solid defence the entire game and also had nine rebounds and four assists to add to his efforts.

He fed Gordon Hayward on this beautiful pass to give the Celtics a lead late in the game:

Brown knocked down a huge 3-pointer that put Boston up by four points with under three minutes to go - a lead they never surrendered.

In this contest, Brown looked like the player the Celtics are paying him to be over the next four seasons.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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