The Toronto Raptors will chase a third consecutive road victory when they face the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
It will be the final stop on a four-game road trip for Toronto, which opened the trek with a 114-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers before beating the San Antonio Spurs 123-116 in overtime and topping the Dallas Mavericks 127-116.
The Raptors erased a 22-point deficit in their victory at San Antonio on Sunday, then Pascal Siakam hit season highs in points (31) and rebounds (12) during the Wednesday win at Dallas. Siakam made 15 of his 25 shots from the field against the Mavericks.
Siakam averaged a career-high 24.2 points per game last season. He enters the Saturday contest putting up 17.4 points in 35.8 minutes per game this season.
“I know who I am as a player,” Siakam said. “I know the things that I do well. Like I always say, I just have to go out there and play my game. Be me. … I just have to continue to do that.
“It’s a journey. It’s always been a journey for me. Things have never been easy for me. I feel like one thing that separates me from a lot of other people is I’m resilient. That’s one thing I know about myself. When things are muddy and cloudy, I like that. That’s when I thrive as a person just because I know I’m never going to give up. It’s a process and I’m going to continue to get better.”
Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic added, “(Siakam) has been putting a lot of work in. I’m seeing him every single day how he practices, how he prepares himself. … He gave us a really amazing spark in the first half (on Wednesday) and just continued down the stretch making the right plays.”
The Celtics snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets 121-107 on Friday in Boston’s first in-season tournament game. Jaylen Brown tossed in a game-high 28 points for the Celtics.
“Just being aggressive,” Brown said. “It’s a long season. Just coming out, playing my game, looking for my teammates and trying to find ways to win. … We just have to keep it going.”
Boston also received a 23-point, 10-rebound effort from Jayson Tatum, who leads the Celtics in scoring (27.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 boards per game).
“I think we competed,” Tatum said. “It was important for us to come back home and get a win.”
Boston’s bench players contributed 37 points, including 15 from Sam Hauser and 13 from Payton Pritchard.
Dennis Schroder tossed in 18 points for the Raptors during their victory over Dallas, and Scottie Barnes finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two blocks.
Barnes leads Toronto in scoring (21.5 ppg), rebounds (10.4), steals (1.5) and blocked shots (2.1).
One area where the Raptors need improvement is at the foul line. Through eight games, Toronto ranks last in the NBA in free-throw percentage at 69.6 percent.
Boston center Al Horford did not play on Friday due to right knee injury management. Horford is averaging 5.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game this season.
–Field Level Media
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