NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: Raptors expose the Celtics’ problems

NBA results: February 27, 2019

Orlando Magic (103) – New York Knicks (108)

Boston Celtics (95) – Toronto Raptors (118)

OKC Thunder (112) – Denver Nuggets (121)

Three things that happened in the NBA today:

1. Celtics have major problems

The dominant win of the Raptors over the Celtics exposed more of the problems of Boston than the dominance of Toronto. With all due respect to the Raptors, this is something they’ve been doing all season long. They’ve been beating all kinds of teams left and right. It’s only proper that they also beat the Celtics, a team that doesn’t know what to make of themselves.

After taking a two-point lead in the first period, the Celtics melted down in the second quarter to give the game away. They allowed the Raptors to score 36 points and could only muster 16 points. Toronto led by as much as 31 points in the game.

The mounting frustration could be seen with the Celtics players and coaches during the game.

This problem carried over to after the game. Smart told the media post-game that the team was “not together.” It was a sentiment that Kyrie Irving didn’t agree with.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Raptors knew exactly who they were. They leaned on their forward duo of Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam. Both players scored more than 20 points on 60% shooting clips. The Raptors got a healthy dose of production from everyone on the roster.

This match-up was supposed to be a marquee battle between two of the top teams in the East. Instead it showed the wide gulf between the dominant Raptors and the problematic Celtics.

2. Denver is not joking around

In another awesome match-up, the second-seeded Denver Nuggets hosted the third-seeded OKC Thunder. The Nuggets have been holding off everyone under them as they hold steady at the second spot, slightly behind the Warriors. They’ve been solid, if unspectacular.

Looking to knock them off the second spot is the OKC Thunder. The Thunder have taken on a lot of attention lately. Between Russell Westbrook’s triple-double shenanigans to Paul George’s MVP candidacy, there’s been a lot to talk about with this year’s Thunder.

Unfortunately, in this game solid beats spectacular. Nikola Jokic continued to do what he’s been doing all season long: play like an MVP. He put up 36 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists, leading Denver to the big win.

Jokic got well-deserved MVP chants when he trooped to the line late in the fourth period. But Jokic prefers to not be talked about. He lets his game do the talking instead.

3. Mitchell Robinson is holding a one-man block party

In a game that featured current All-Star Nikola Vucevic and former All-Star DeAndre Jordan, it was young gun Mitchell Robinson that made the most noise. Robinson put up monster numbers with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.

Robinson joins an elite cast with his numbers today.

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