Not sure where my head is at lately, but I’m writing post when I shouldn’t and day dreaming when I should be. Bargnani missing the all-star reserve selection seems to be the topic of discussion; so I’ll chip in my $0.02…if he wasn’t injured, and didn’t miss half the season (so far), he would be a compelling candidate. You could make the case that he should be there instead of Hibbert, but he might not have been able to play had he been selected because of the injury, so it’s moot. What we should be happy with was that he was in the conversation, albeit on the fringes of the discussion; I’ll take it considering the significant strides he made…next year :)

Injuries

Toronto
Bargnani – Calf, out indefinitely
Bayless – Ankle, day-to-day

Boston
Pavlovic – Wrist, day-to-day
Dooling – Hip, day-to-day
Bass – day-to-day

Match-ups

Point Guard
I’m really liking the effort Bayless has been putting up in Bargnani’s absence, just wish he wasn’t the designated heat-checker; what helps most is he’s protecting the ball much better. Calderon’s been consistent. I realize he’s been starting at the 2 the last two games, but I just don’t see DeRozan covering Paul Pierce and James Johnson taking on Kevin Garnett. So with Bayless probably out, we’ll be seeing a combination of Barbosa and Carter backing up Calderon and Barbosa playing some shooting guard in relief of DeRozan while Colangelo sorts out a trade for him.
Edge: Celtics

Shooting Guard
Looks like the heat I took after calling DeRozan out a couple weeks ago was justified; not getting the same venom in the discussions that I used too. When you such dramatic swings from game-to-game, you don’t get love from this corner of the interwebs when you make a pretty against a weak-ass team. Head-to-head against Ray Allen, DeRozan’s been mediocre for a few seasons, I’m not saying Ray-Ray is going to drop 30, but he will do 15-20; mix that with DeRozan’s love affair with the jumper and Boston’s defensive resurgence (4th in defensive efficiency)…it’s going to be a long night for the prodigal son.
Edge: Celtics

Small Forward
Paul Pierce may be old, and his selection to the all-star game is a bit controversial (not as much as Dengs, though) but his game was never dependant on his athleticism; it’s that slow-motion first step that’s killer. JJ and Kleiza have been playing nice, but they should be able to deliver a combined production that matches Pierce’s. You can almost smell Pierce having a big night to justify his selection to the mid-season classic; has me a bit scared truth be told.
Edge: Celtics

Power Forward
I’m still waiting for someone to drop Garnett and have Jose yell in his face while he’s down.
Edge: Celtics

Center
All my match-up assumptions were based on the Raptors not going small ball because of the bad mis-matches at the 2 and 3 if they do. Maybe they go that route, in which case half of what I’ll be watching the Lakers/Knicks game (I’ll be watching that game anyways, Lin is compelling basketball right now), but maybe they try and match-up a bit smarter, and not let Allen and Pierce take it easy on the bench in the 2nd half because they built up a 20 point 1st half lead.
Edge: Even, but who really cares

Keys to the Game

  • Ball movement: the Celtics are a damn good defensive team, but they are old. The Raptors need to make them work on the defensive end of the court and really attack the paint; Garnett and O’Neal aren’t what they used to be. Don’t settle for jumpers!
  • Tight defensive rotations: Rondo can consistently break down the defense and create for the rest of the team. Can’t give Allen and Pierce open looks from the perimeter (the Raptors have done a great job of allowing this-this season) or they will kill us; I can’t stress this enough.
  • Get into Garnett’s head: this wont win us the game, but I want to see someone mess the SOB a bit…hate him…

The Line

Boston is 4.5 point favourites; considering they handed the Raptors a 36 point loss last week, then the 4 straight tight games the Raptors played, this is a tough one to call. I’d like to see the Celtics handed their ass in our house tonight, but that’s a tall order under any circumstance. Celtics by 7.

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