Boston: 108.2 points/100 possessions (11th)
Raptors: 106.2 points/100 possessions (15th)
Boston: 100.5 points allowed/100 possessions (3rd)
Raptors: 107.7 points allowed/100 possessions (19th)
Probable TOR starters: Andrea Barganni, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Jose Calderon, Reggie Evans
Celtics: QUESTIONABLE: Rajon Rondo (hamstring) OUT: Jermaine O’Neal (knee), Kendrick Perkins (knee), Delonte West (wrist)
Opposing Perspective: Raptors Republic
Thumbnail: The Celtics look to avenge their loss against the upstart Raptors who have won four straight games overall, including a one-point win over Boston last Sunday. Toronto who has been playing much better ball of late, has more reinforcements since that last battle, with Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic as the newest members of the team’s rotation after completing their five-player trade with New Orleans earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the C’s are likely to be extremely shorthanded in the backcourt without Delonte West (broken right wrist) and with Rajon Rondo looking doubtful to suit up again with a strained hamstring. The bench unit, especially Von Wafer and maybe even Avery Bradley could see some run if foul trouble does arise. The C’s lost one they should have earlier this week to this squad though, so expect them to come out hungry like they did against Atlanta.
WHAT THE RAPTORS DO WELL:
The Raptors have the best rebounder in the league on both ends of the floor in Reggie Evans, and he has some help off the bench with Amir Johnson on the offensive end (also one of the best in the league) so it should come as little to no surprise they are 7th in offensive rebounding rate in the league thus far.
*8th in the league in getting to the line
No one in particular stands out in this department, but the Raptors have a plethora of younger athletic players along with big men that make to the charity stripe at a stronger than average rate. This obviously was a major issue in the team’s last showdown on Sunday so look for the C’s to make more of an effort tonight to limit the freebies.
*Forcing Turnovers (7th in league)
I won’t even get into this. You guys know the story with Boston.
WHAT THE RAPTORS DO POORLY
How do you say? Ah yes….Defense
Opponents get to the basket at will against Barganni and the majority of their perimeter players play a certain matador defense, allowing their opponents easy openings to the hoop. The numbers are also ugly in other areas of the defensive end.
*26th in defensive eFG percentage
*Opponents get to the line against them…. a lot. (23rd in league in free throw rate)
With that said, this team has been playing MUCH better on defense lately during their four-game winning streak. They have held their opponents to 101, 86, 90, and 96 points in those four games which shouldn’t be impressive but it is for a team like Toronto. Still this is a clear vulnerability Boston should be able to take advantage of tonight.
Shooting the 3 Ball
The Raptors come in 29th in the league in this department at 30.9%/game. Still new additions Stojakovic and Bayless should help in this department and Andrea Barganni continues to be a threat.
PLAYERS WHO MAKES ME WORRY
I can not believe I am writing this but the Raptors European import has been the ringleader of Toronto’s recent resurgence that has listed Celtics as one of the victims. In his past four games, Barganni has averaged 27 points with 5 boards in each contest while shooting a blistering 56 percent from the field despite his incredibly high volume of shots. Given the C’s have liabilities guarding him outside (Shaq) and size issues guarding him inside (Baby) it’s clear the team will be focused on slowing him down tonight. Look for KG to stay on him whenever he is in the game with Evans.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
The shooting guard position is not a strength for this Raptors team and although DeRozan has some nice athleticism, the C’s should be able to contain him. Same for Julian Wright, who is as offensively inept as they come.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’S TONIGHT
They didn’t get any of it last Sunday in Toronto, causing a second quarter massacre which forced Boston to play catch up the rest of the way. With the injuries piling up, Wafer, Daniels, and even Semih Erden who has seen his playing time shrink during poor play this past week need to step up big against an inferior opponent, while keeping the onus off the starters. Doc shouldn’t have to play those guys 35-40 minutes against Toronto.
Celtics 105, Raptors 93