TORONTO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Toronto Raptors forwards Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker made an immediate impact in their debut, propelling the team to a 107-97 victory over Boston Celtics in Friday night's NBA game.
Acquired Feb. 14 from Orlando, Ibaka recorded 15 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Tucker, who was traded from Phoenix on Thursday afternoon played 29 minutes and chipped in with nine points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was not hesitant to rely on his newest players during the fourth quarter. Tucker played the duration of the frame, while Ibaka played nine minutes.
"I expected that type of physical play and that's what this league's about," Casey said after the game. "The way we competed down the stretch, that group's physicality needed to play against a very high-powered offensive team like Boston," he continued.
Entering the game, Boston's offence was ranked sixth in the league with 108.4 points per game. Raptors held Celtics to 97 points on 42.3 percent (33-for-78) from the field.
"It's not a finesse game, it's not pretty," said Casey. "This is a physical game and you got to be able to move your feet on (Isaiah) Thomas and we did a good job."
A two-time All-Star, Thomas entered the game ranked second in scoring with 29.9 points per game. In the fourth quarter, the 28-year-old is averaging a league-best 10.7 points per game.
Tucker guarded Thomas for the entire final frame, holding him to 4 points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field. Thomas finished with 20 points, his fewest points scored in 44 games when he scored 18 points against Warriors on Nov. 18.
The defensive performances of Toronto's newest players overshadowed a career-high 43-point performance from teammate DeMar DeRozan. The three-time All-Star shot an efficient 15-for-28 from the field and a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and added five rebounds and five assists. This is the fourth time DeRozan has scored 40 or more points this season and the sixth of his career.
With the win, Raptors improve to 34-24 on the season and have 24 games remaining to improve on their fourth place seed in the Eastern Conference.
Casey is optimistic that the team will continue to improve on both ends to be positioned for another deep postseason run.
"I like the way we competed, but it' s one game. We're in for a 24-game marathon," said Casey. "We got a lot of basketball left to be played, a lot of different type of games. They are going to be won in different ways by different groups. I told the guys that we got to be ready to pull their weight."