It’s a matchup of teams from the Atlantic Division up in Beantown as the division’s top two teams meet. The Toronto Raptors are on the road as they battle the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon. Toronto won their second straight and third in the last four games with a 122-118 home win over the Pelicans Thursday night. Boston reeled off an 11th straight win as they downed Charlotte 90-87 at home Friday night. The Celtics hold a 50-35 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams but Toronto won three of the four meetings last season.
Toronto Raptors Seek Third Straight Victory
Toronto won their second straight by picking up a gritty win in a back and forth contest with New Orleans at home. The Raptors now go on the road to face the Celtics for the first time this season. Toronto was tied after three quarters before outscoring New Orleans 30-26 in the final quarter to pull out the victory. The Raptors shot 45.9 percent from the field in the contest, including 16 of 42 from three point range, and won the rebounding battle 48-38. DeMar DeRozan poured in 33 points and dished out eight assists to lead Toronto in the win.
The Raptors currently 7th in the league by averaging 110.1 points per game. Toronto stand in the bottom third of the league on the glass, ranking 24th with 41.9 boards per game. The Raptors are 13th in the league in assists with 22.4 dimes a night. Toronto is 14th in scoring defense as they give up 105.2 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 24.7 points plus 4.2 assists per contest. Jonas Valanciunas averages 10.9 points plus 8.3 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 12.9 points plus 5.2 boards and 6.5 assists per game. Toronto received solid production from guys like Serge Ibaka (13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Norman Powell: CJ Miles, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Delon Wright are needed to contribute this season. The Raptors are 7th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 47.1 percent from the field. Toronto is tied for 11th in the league by sinking 10.5 three pointers per game. The Raptors are 27th in the league in three point shooting as they hit 33 percent from beyond the arc.
Boston Celtics Look for 12th in a Row
Boston’s suffocating defense answered the call again Friday night, leading the team for their 12th straight win. The Celtics trailed by as many as 18 in the game and was down 12 after three quarters before outscoring the Hornets 26-11 in the final quarter. Boston did it all without Al Horford, who was in the concussion protocol, and Kyrie Irving, who played just two minutes after being hit in the face. The Celtics shot 35.7 percent from the floor and knocked down just nine of 31 three point attempts yet got the win. Jayson Tatum and Shane Larkin each had 16 points to lead Boston in the victory.
The Celtics are 21st in the league in scoring offense with 102.8 points per game. Boston is 4th in the league in rebounding with 47.6 boards per game and stand 12th with 22.4 assists per contest. Boston is above average on the defensive end: they are 1st in scoring defense, allowing 94 points per game. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 20.3 points and 5.7 assists plus 2.18 steals per game in his first year with the team. Al Horford averages 14.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Marcus Smart chips in 9.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest. Jaylen Brown (14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds), rookie Jayson Tatum (13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds), Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes are key pieces in the rotation. Boston will miss their big free agent signing, Gordon Hayward, who is likely done for the year after suffering a fracture dislocation of his ankle in the opener. The Celtics are tied for 25th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.3 percent from the floor as a team. Boston is 8th in three pointers per game with 10.9 per night while the team is 17th in three point percentage as they hit 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.
- Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Celtics are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Celtics are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
- Celtics are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
This one is likely going to be a tight game between a pair of division rivals who have plenty of familiarity with each other. Toronto has won two in a row but they’re going to have their work cut out for them against the Celtics, especially on the road and facing Boston’s suffocating defense. The Celtics aren’t sure of the status of Horford or Irving for this contest but they have grit and determination with the next man up mentality. Look for Boston to come up with another tough win here as their defense carries the day again.
Pick: Boston Celtics
Boston is rolling along as they ride their defense: during their 11 game win streak, they have allowed more than 100 points just once with no other team scoring more than 96. Five times in the run the Celtics have allowed less than 90 points in a contest. Toronto has a high octane offense but they’ve missed Valanciunas in the middle. That’s put more pressure on Lowry and DeRozan to do damage. The Celtics hope to have Horford and Irving back but it may be a game time decision for both guys.
The under is 5-1 in the Raptors’ last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record, 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest and 23-9 in their last 32 road games. Boston has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 games playing on 1 day of rest, 4-0 in their last four against Atlantic Division opponents, 7-1 in their last 8 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 6-1 in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference foes. Given Boston’s tough defense, this one likely stays under the total as well.