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Rick Zamperin: Uh oh, Toronto Raptors up against it vs. Celtics

Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) celebrates with Grant Williams (12) after sinking a basket and drawing a foul in the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game as Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry looks on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

It feels like it’s one step forward, two steps back, for the Toronto Raptors.

The defending champion Raptors lost 102-99 against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night and now trail their second round NBA playoff series 2 games to 0.

With the loss, the Raps find themselves in a position they haven’t been in since last year’s Eastern Conference Final when they trailed the Milwaukee Bucks 2-zip before Toronto reeled off four straight victories to earn a spot in the NBA Finals.

Read more: Boston Celtics take 2-0 conference semifinals series lead over Toronto Raptors with 102-99 win

This series against the Celtics feels a lot different though, and the biggest difference is Boston has hit big shots at key moments in each of their two victories, especially the 3-ball.

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Toronto’s touch beyond the arc has escaped them in this series, going 11-for-40 on Tuesday — including 1-for-11 in the 4th quarter — after converting 10-of-40 three-point attempts in Game 1, for a combined 26 per cent.

Click to play video 'Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet has emotional reunion with his kids' Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet has emotional reunion with his kids
Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet has emotional reunion with his kids – Sep 1, 2020

Kyle Lowry is 1-for-12 from three-point land in this series and Fred VanVleet has gone a dismal 5-for-23.

After converting 17 of their 39 three-point attempts on Sunday, Boston went 15-for-38 Tuesday — including 7-for-10 in the fourth frame, highlighted by Marcus Smart’s five straight three-pointers.

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It would be unfair to say the Raptors don’t have an answer for Boston’s offensive weapons, whether it’s Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Kemba Walker, because those answers are Lowry, VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.

Unfortunately, that group hasn’t had a dynamic performance in either of the two losses and if they don’t  find some magic in Game 3 on Thursday, this will be a very short series.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.