Toronto looks to bounce back from their last loss against the Bucks as they play their first in-season tournament game.
The Raptors are seeking revenge on Boston as the last time these two matched up, it ended in the Celtics winning 117-94.
The last time they faced off the Raptors struggled to get their shot going from beyond the arc. They only hit 27% of their three-pointers as a team. They also had difficulty stopping the Celtics in the paint, allowing 60 points just from the inside alone.
(9-2 | 1st in East | Offensive Rating 120.0/3rd | Defensive Rating 106.6/ 2nd)
This season the Celtics have been a powerhouse, and they look to continue this level of dominance and capture their fifth straight win against the Raptors.
The Celtics big three of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis absolutely showed out last time, with each of them scoring 20+.
Jayson Tatum has been on a tear this season, currently averaging 28 points per game, 8.8 rebounds and 4 assists. He was no doubt the star of the show last time these two teams clashed with an impressive stat line of 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and one block.
If the Celtics want to capture this win, they should look to pound the paint. This is one of the biggest Raptors flaws this season as we saw the Bucks using this to their advantage last night, scoring 52 points in the paint. The Raptors are also without their best defender in O.G Anunoby, the Celtics should look to capitalize on this immediately.
On the defensive end, the Raptors are 28th in the league in three-point percentage, currently shooting 32 percent. The Celtics should look to force the Raptor hand and make them shoot. Especially with some of the Raptor’s best shooters currently injured, this is something the Celtics can and will capitalize on.
(5-6 | 11th in East | Offensive Rating: 108.6 / 27th | Defensive Rating: 110.6 / 10th)
The Raptors face the difficult challenge of taking on one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the NBA. However, it is still very possible for them to pick up the win. They just have to fix some of the mistakes they were making last time, and our stars have to step up under the bright lights.
First off, our stars have to step it up. Especially with O.G. being out. Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes have to set the tone early and be aggressive right off the bat. Siakam cannot have a repeat of what happened against the Bucks. He started off looking promising but just vanished, settling for jumpers and only finishing off the game with 11 points. Last time he faced off with the Celtics he finished with 17 points on 6/17 shots, shooting 35 percent from the field. Scottie also had one of his worst games of the season, scoring 10 points on 4/15 shots, shooting 26 percent from the field. The first step to getting the win is an obvious one, but this duo cannot have a repeat performance.
Secondly, the Raptors bench has to produce. Malachi Flynn has started to look promising, but he needs to start converting on his attempts from beyond the arc. Also, guys like Otto Porter, Jalen McDaniels, and Precious should play a key role in this game using their size to help rotate, force double teams and get defensive stops, especially in the paint.
Defensively, the Raptors have to focus on shutting down the duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. I would suggest putting Siakam on Tatum and Scottie on Brown. Without their best defender, I think Siakam matches up well with Tatum size-wise. Furthermore, I think Scottie should be able to give Brown serious issues. It’s no secret that Jaylen Brown has trouble with his left, this is something we saw Scottie target last time and he should continue to do so.
The Raptors also only scored 12 points in transition last time. This is something they should look to improve on, as soon as they get out in transition, make sure you convert.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV : TSN | Radio: TSN 1050
PG: Dennis Schröder, Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. (Probable – Right Foot; Plantar Fasciitis), Gradey Dick
SF: O.G. Anunoby (doubtful – finger), Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher
C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Inactives: Christian Koloko (illness – Respiratory), Ron Harper Jr (two-way), and Javon Freeman-Liberty (two-way), Thaddeus Young (illness), Otto Porter Jr (Personal).
The money line is set with the Celtics being favoured at -250 odds, and the Raptors coming in at +205. The over/ under is currently set at 216. Odds via FanDuel.