The Toronto Raptors are finally headed back home after a western conference road trip that featured plenty of losses, controversy, and great basketball. They return home to face off against an elite NBA team in the Boston Celtics and face a huge challenge. Boston is considered to be the top team in the league when it pertains to record. They’re going to have to handle the Celtics offense without their anchor in Jakob Poetl so tonight will be hardfought from the opening tip.
Jayson Tatum, the leader of the Celtics will prove to be a tough matchup for whoever is guarding him, Tatum is a prolific driver and he uses his size and athleticism to knife his way to the rim no matter who is in front of him. Without Jakob’s size to provide a bit of help, and it being replaced with Thaddeus, it’ll be tough to contain Tatum. Toronto’s best bet is to attempt to take advantage of Tatum’s lack of high level passing and send multiple doubles to force him to process the floor in a complex way. Send doubles from all over the floor and hope that can force turnovers. The extremely tough thing about Boston is that they have a starting lineup where everyone can do something with the ball in their hands and everyone can shoot the ball, so doubling is a risky strategy, and it’ll take cohesion that the defense has not shown lately.
Offensively Toronto is going to need Scottie Barnes to turn it up tonight and put a lot of pressure on the Celtics defense. Barnes is going to have to get into the teeth of the Celtics zone defense that they love to run and break it apart from there, and he needs to be more aggressive as a scorer tonight. Toronto as a whole needs to take advantage of the Celtics bench minutes as well, the bench minutes will be key in Toronto having a chance to win this game. Pascal Siakam also needs to take advantage of whatever matchup he has but likely it will be Jaylen Brown.
This is a game where Toronto can test itself against an elite eastern conference team and hopefully they can keep up with this new iteration of themselves.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: TSN 1/3/4/5 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
Jakob Poeltl (ankle) is out indefinitely. Otto Porter Jr. (knee) is out Christian Koloko (respiratory) remains out.
PG: Immanuel Quickley, Dennis Schroder
SG: RJ Barrett, Gary Trent Jr.
SF: Scottie Barnes, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher
C: Thaddeus Young, Jontay Porter
No issue with the regulars in the most recent update.
PG: Jrue Holiday, Payton Pritchard
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown, Sam Hauser, Oshae Brissett
PF: Jayson Tatum, Al Horford
C: Kristaps Porzingis, Luke Kornet
Boston is favored by a considerable amount which is no shock, they are one of the elite teams in the NBA.