Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics Preview
The second round of the NBA Playoffs begins in the bubble this afternoon as two teams who completed first-round sweeps now match up in what could be one of the best remaining series of the playoffs.
The Boston Celtics dispatched of the Philadelphia 76ers in four, and since then Philly head coach Brett Brown was fired. Likewise, the Raptors had no problems with the Brooklyn Nets and the defending champs are looking like a force in the Eastern Conference even without Kawhi Leonard.
In the regular-season series, the Celtics won three of four games over Toronto, and Toronto’s singular loss in the bubble came at the hands of Boston.
After the brief boycott postponed today’s game from Thursday, both teams returned to practice on Friday and will be focused on what looks to be a very competitive series on paper.
Time: 1 PM ET
Arena: The Field House, Orlando, FL
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Raptors: Kyle Lowry (P), Oshae Brissett (O)
Celtics: Gordon Hayward (O), Tremont Waters (O)
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
Only the Phoenix Suns were a hotter team than the Toronto Raptors in the bubble, but their only loss came against the Celtics, and it was a doozy, losing by 22 points.
In their playoff sweep against an injury-riddled Brooklyn Nets team, only one game, Game 2, was close. The Raptors did have some bouts with inconsistency, but Pascal Siakam and their depth off the bench allowed them to open up big leads.
The Raptors and Celtics are very similar teams with some star power along with strong benches and two of the top coaches in the league.
Head coach Nick Nurse realizes both teams are defensive stalwarts, but the Raptors will have to take advantage of turning their defense into points on the other end.
“We love to score in transition and that’s one of the things we talk about,” said Nurse. “If we’re going to play all this darn defence, we better be getting something out of it at the other end. That’s gonna be a factor. We’re going to have to dig in and get into them and create some turnovers. I hope we can, we need them.”
Point guard Kyle Lowry was upgraded from questionable to probable for Game 1.
Celtics Starting 5
This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Boston Celtics make it to the Eastern Conference semifinals, but it’ll mark the first time in history that they matchup against the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs.
In Boston’s first-round series sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers, defense stood out, which was a tall order considering they had to defend the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
“Especially in the Playoffs, you gotta get stops, and we pride ourselves on playing defense,” Jayson Tatum said. “We got a lot of really good defenders out there. A lot of versatile guys, guys just want to compete. That’s what we want to do. We want to compete.”
The Celtics won their first-round games by a margin of 11+ points per game, and Tatum reached the 30-point mark twice, while also rebounding in double figures in two of the four games. Their ability to rebound over a traditional big time with a frontline featuring Embiid, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris was especially impressive, but it won’t get any better ad they have a trip of bigs in Toronto, who will try to control the boards.
Raptors vs Celtics Fantasy Basketball Angle
Jayson Tatum is a solid pick for the Celtics today. He has been delivering for the Celtics and both sides of the floor and in multiple categories. He’s projected for 44.9 fantasy points today and comes at a FanDuel salary od $9.6k/
For the Raptors, look no further than star forward Pascal Siakam. For his FanDuel salary of $8.5k and a 41-point projection, he gets close to value player land there and will be one stud-level player that you and start and save some of the money in your lineup on, which he’s also a stat-stuffer.
For another value pickup, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics is criminally low at just $6.5k for a 34.4-point projection. He played very well in the first round and will provide some value as a starter or off your bench.
Raptors vs Celtics Betting Odds
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