Stephen A. Smith Believes Celtics-Raptors Series is Over After Two Games
The Boston Celtics took down the Toronto Raptors in a nailbiter on Tuesday evening, aided by the heroics of one Marcus Smart. Toronto came out swinging hard and held a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter before Boston (and Smart, specifically) caught fire down the stretch. The win gave the Celtics a 2-0 advantage in the series, and the defending champs on the other side are in some trouble.
This led to a discussion on First Take on Wednesday in which Stephen A. Smith declared this series was over, even with a minimum of two games left to play.
Smith primarily cites the beginnings of Games 1 and 2 as evidence. In Game 1, the Raptors couldn't buy a shot in the first quarter and spotted the Celtics an 18-point lead they couldn't recover from. In Game 2, it was a much different story as Toronto made eight of their first 11 shots. They still were tied with Boston going into the second frame. They couldn't make their lead going into the fourth quarter of that game count, either.
It's easy to side with Smith. While Smart ripping off five straight threes isn't likely to happen again this playoffs, much less this series, things didn't need to go perfectly for the Celtics for them to win Game 2. Kemba Walker was cold as dry ice all game and they still won. Robert Williams, who kept the Celtics afloat in that first quarter, didn't play much of the second half after taking a fall onto his back during said first quarter. The Raptors, meanwhile, needed everything they could get just to get a lead, and they wasted it anyway.
However! The Raptors remain defending champs with probably the best defense in the league. Kyle Lowry has done very little offensively and it seems like his ankle is still bothering him. Nick Nurse is a scheming genius who will try all sorts of weird stuff before he allows the Raptors to leave the bubble. And the last time an ESPN analyst declared a series over after a big Boston win, well... That analyst is still hearing about that declaration to this day.
It's never over 'till it's over, and Smith knows that His lack of confidence in Toronto is a bit surprising, but he's hardly alone. It will take everything they have to even this series up, but we can all count on these Raptors busting it to prove everyone wrong.