Toronto Raptors (19-17) at Boston Celtics (13-26)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #40, Home Game #20
TV: CSNNE, Sportsnet One, NBA-LP 757(DTV), 754(Xfinity)
Radio: CJCL, WBZ
The Celtics hope to avoid losing their 10th straight as they welcome the Toronto Raptors to the Garden. The Raptors have won 3 in a row and are 12-4 since they traded Rudy Gay for John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes.
The Raptors are looking to win in Boston for the first time since January 23, 2008. They have lost 10 straight games in Boston by an average of 16.3 points per game. They have lost so regularly in the Garden that their announcers thought that Gino time was something the Celtics do every game.
It wasn't long ago that the Celtics were atop the Atlantic division. But their 10 game losing streak, combined with a hot Raptors team has moved the Raptors to the lead in the Atlantic. On the other side, a Celtics loss in this game coupled with a Sixers win would move the Celtics into last place in the division.
This is the second meeting between these two teams. The Celtics lost 87-93 on opening night in Toronto. The Raptors are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 10-9 on the road. They have won their last 3 games. The Celtics are 8-11 at home and 1-9 in their last 10 games. They have lost 9 straight games.
With the trade this afternoon, obviously Jordan Crawford won't be starting. My guess is that Jerryd Bayless will get the call to start at the point with Pressey backing him up. I may be wrong, but since I had to put someone in there to start, I pick Bayless.
With the 2 for 1 trade, the Celtics are down to 13 on the roster. With Bogans away from the team for personal reasons, Rondo may be active for this game, even though he probably won't play to make the 12 man roster. Or then again, maybe, just maybe, he'll play. But, that's just my own musings.
Jerryd Bayless...Avery Bradley...Jeff Green...Jared Sullinger...Kris Humphries
Rajon Rondo (knee) any day now
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Kyle Lowry...DeMar DeRozan...Terrence Ross...Amir Johnson...Jonas Valanciunas
Tyler Hansbrough (ankle) questionable
Avery Bradley vs DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan is a threat on the offensive end, averaging 21.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Avery's defense will be needed to keep DeRozan from putting up big numbers in this one.
Kris Humphries vs Jonas Valanciunas
Valanciunas is averaging 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is coming off a game in which he scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebunds and he is capable of putting up big numbers if allowed to get into the paint.
Keys to the Game
Consistent Effort- The Celtics must win by being the team that plays harder. They have been playing hard but have lapses during the game. They have to find a way to play hard for 4 quarters and not just 2 or 3.
Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards to prevent the Raptors from getting extra chances and fast breaks. They also give themselves a chance for extra possessions.
Get Into the Paint - The Celtics can't depend on their jumpers alone. They have to take the ball to the hoop and win the war in the paint.
Defense - The Raptors are a good shooting team and so the Celtics must play team defense to keep them from having a high scoring game. The Celtics have been allowing opponents to average 106.1 points per game over their 9 game losing streak. The Raptors have been allowing only 88.5 points per game over their last 10 games. The Celtics must commit to play tough defense if they want to win this game.
Home and Effort
The Celtics have an advantage in that they are playing at home and should get a boost from the home crowd. If they can get consistent effort for 48 minutes, they may be able to pull this one out.