WHO: Celtics (18-17) vs. Raptors (17-18)
WHEN: 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: TD Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G: Kemba Walker
G: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Daniel Theis
C: Tristan Thompson
G: Kyle Lowry
G: Norman Powell
SF: Terence Davis
PF: Yuta Watanabe
C: Aron Baynes
The Boston Celtics (18-17, 17-18 ATS) have won three straight games and have a strong chance to make it four going into the all star break against a Toronto Raptors (17-18, 16-19 ATS) team almost completely depleted by COVID-19 cases after the NBA announced seven positive tests in the NBA last week.
Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw are out in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, along with Nick Nurse and several Toronto coaches.
Marcus Smart (calf) and Romeo Langford (wrist) are still out for Boston.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics are 8.0 favorites against the Raptors at 7 EST.
- Celtics vs. Raptors spread: Celtics -8
- Celtics vs. Raptors over-under: 221.5 points
- Celtics vs. Raptors money line: Celtics -350, Raptors +280
“I think last year they came in here decimated with injuries on a back-to-back, and killed us,” Brad Stevens said this afternoon anticipating a depleted Toronto opponent.
Kyle Lowry will try to lead Toronto back from a 129-105 loss to the Pistons on Wednesday without much of their top-end rotation. Normal Powell and Lowry took 31 of 77 shots for the Raptors and scored 57 of the team’s 105 points.
The other depth Raptors players aside from Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher struggled from the field while the team’s defense got blasted for 134 points per 100 possessions. Toronto’s defense is typically top-10 on a points per game basis. Under fill-in coach Sergio Scariolo of Spain, assistant Chris Finch joined the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, the team has had to completely revamp its rotations.
Three-pointers, as one of the highest volume shooting teams in the league, could still potentially keep the the Raptors in any game if the opposing defense lets up. That’s what to watch for from Boston.
This one shouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to win, as they’ve already blasted the Raptors in a more full version of themselves twice. Semi Ojeleye and Payton Pritchard made history for their combined three-point shooting lines in the February win while Toronto found it difficult to prevent Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from producing as facilitators.
Since then, Kemba Walker has emerged as a 20 PPG player and Robert Williams has factored in as a consistent bench scoring and defensive threat. His minutes project to trend upward into this game as well.
A cover may be difficult if the Raptors hit their threes tonight, but Boston limited Toronto to 32% from outside in the previous win. Brown should be able to cover Lowry more often than Walker if Toronto fills the floor with shooters and the Celts should head into the break in a much better position than one week ago.
Boston 115, Toronto 105 (17-13, 13-14 ATS)