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Raptors struggle with finding offensive rhythm in Game 1 loss to Celtics

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse sat down for his postgame news conference and started looking for answers.

For only the second time since the NBA season restarted, his Raptors dropped a game. It just so happened to occur against the same team — the Boston Celtics. Boston dominated Toronto in all facets Sunday in a 112-94 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The Raptors were seemingly in trouble from the start. On the first play of the game, guard Fred VanVleet missed a layup. Next time down there was a missed 3-pointer from Kyle Lowry. Then two more missed shots and two turnovers followed. By the time Toronto scored, nearly three minutes had run off the clock. Throughout the entire first quarter — and really throughout the game — Boston kept the Raptors from finding any sort of rhythm offensively. And Nurse noticed.

It certainly didn’t help the Raptors that they were whistled for 11 fouls in the first quarter, including three on Pascal Siakam — the third of which Nurse unsuccessfully challenged.

But Nurse wasn’t about to let the blame fall on the referees.

“It was tough but it was all part of a bad rhythm,” Nurse said. “We didn’t play nearly well enough or hard enough or good enough or fast enough or tough enough to win today, because we got our butts kicked.”

Siakam, the Raptors’ All-Star forward, finished with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting with just three rebounds. Since play has started in Florida, Siakam has struggled to find a rhythm of his own.

In the 12 games since the restart, Siakam is averaging 17.8 points while shooting 39.6% from the field and 31.9% from deep. In 53 games prior to the NBA’s hiatus in March, he was averaging 23.6 points on 45.9% shooting while making 35.9% from 3-point range.

Nurse said the team will continue to try to get Siakam going in all phases of the game moving forward.

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