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Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors: 12/16/07 - Game Preview

Boston: 19-2
Toronto: 14-10

Projected Started Lineups
Boston: Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Toronto: Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Chris Bosh, Rasho Nesterovic

Match Ups
Bosh/Garnett - When last they met Bosh did not even make the trip to Boston. However, he is back and playing big minutes again. Since his return Bosh has averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds. Coincidentally the Raptors have won four in a row, including a victory over the Mavericks. Bosh definitely makes the Raptors better. But he's not in KG's league. And by league I mean level of play. They are both in the NBA. And that's not a knock on Bosh by the way.

Scheduling Note
Both the Celtics and the Raptors played Friday and had Saturday off. This will be their third meeting of the year and the second Sunday afternoon game in Toronto. If that first game north of the border is any indication this will be a hard fought game.

Celtics Notes
Ray Allen will miss his second straight game due to an ankle injury.

Kendrick Perkins was back in action on Friday. Despite modest numbers in his return (4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block in 27 minutes) and Glen Davis' performance in his absence, it was good to have Perk back in the lineup. The Celtics need Perk's size.

Raptors Notes
The Raptors are one of five teams in the Eastern Conference with a record above .500. Meanwhile, Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Jorge Garbajosa (people forget about him) and TJ Ford have all missed several games. Those two facts make the Raptors dangerous, as they are holding it together through adverse conditions. They are headed in the right direction.

Raptors Biggest Strengths
Shooting, athleticism, versatility, talented youth.

Raptors Biggest Weaknesses
Deep down Raptors fans have to worry about Ford's health. In fact the team as a whole needs to stay healthy.

Random YouTube Clip
This is a tough one to watch as Ford really hits the deck hard. Ian Thomsen of recently looked at Ford's injury history, willingness to take it to the rack, and adaptations to his style of play. But this was just a fast break and an attempt at a shot block that went horribly wrong. Sam Mitchell was hot under the collar, and rightfully so, as he has to defend his guys. But was the play really malicious? I'm not convinced Al Horford was trying to hurt Ford.

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