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Game 81: Celtics (41-39) @ Raptors (33-48) Open Thread


http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2009/1218/fantasy_g_derozan_300.jpgBoston at Toronto
8:00 P.M. ET
Air Canada Centre


Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 101.2 points/100 possessions (20th)
102.7 points/100 possessions (17th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 100.1 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
 104.8 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)

Probable Raptors Starters:
Kyle Lowry (PG), DeMar DeRozan (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Amir Johnson (PF), and Jonas Valanciunas (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: Raptors Republic

Thumbnail: Although it may say that it is the 81st game for the Celtics this season, it is in fact their final one of 2012-13. For the first time since 1954-55, there are NBA teams that will finish with a different number of total games played in the same season. After the NBA announced the cancellation of Tuesday’s game between the Celtics and Pacers game at TD Garden, the men in green traveled north. With a 3-0 record against the Raptors this season, the Celtics are in search of their only four-game sweep of an opponent in 2012-13. Of course, that will not be the main goal for the Celtics coaching staff on Wednesday. Doc Rivers and his assistant coaches will be focusing on giving their main rotation players some time to play together, but not too much.

However, the Raptors are playing for an above .500 record at home. They enter this contest 20-20 at the Air Canada Centre this season. In addition, they have played very well over the past week. During Toronto’s current four-game winning streak, DeMar DeRozan has led the team with 26 points per game on an impressive 60 percent shooting. He has also made six of his last nine 3-pointers as he hopes to help the Raptors tie their season-long winning streak. In his fourth season, DeRozan has played in every game this season, accumulating the fifth-most minutes and making the eighth-most free throws of any player in 2012-13. Be sure to keep an eye out for this 23-year-old.

Boston will hope to slow him down along with this hot Raptors team. The Celtics have been doing this to most teams recently as they are one of the league’s best defenses since Rondo tore his ACL on January 25. In that span, they have held teams to 43 percent shooting, which is the third-best mark in the NBA, as well as a league-best 32 percent from 3-point distance. Not only have the Celtics defended well, but they also have shot the basketball well heading into the playoffs. Their 59-percent performance from the field on Saturday at Orlando was Boston’s best shooting percentage in a road game this season. It also pushed the Celtics’ shooting to second-best in the NBA over the last 10 games.

Prediction: The Celtics continue their strong shooting, but the starting lineup plays limited minutes.

Raptors 95, Celtics 91

For more Celtics coverage and pertinent statistics, follow Celtics Hub and Stats Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam

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