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C's Face a Raptors Team Looking to Avenge Losses


Boston Celtics (19-2) at Toronto Raptors (14-10)
Sunday, December 16
1:00 PM Eastern
Game #22, Road Game #10
TV:  SCORE,  NBA LP ch 752, CSN
Air Canada Center
Chat Game Thread       

Raptors Coverage:   Raptors HQ   l  HoopsAddict       

Keys to the Game
Defend the Perimeter.   The Raptors are the top 3 point shooting team in the league and have 3 players in the top 15 three point shooters:  Jason Kapono leads the team in shooting at .543,
Followed by Anthony Parker (.500) and Andrea Bargnani (.460). They can beat you from long distance and so the Celtics must have good perimeter defense.   

Come out with Energy.  This is an afternoon game and typically the Celtics come out sluggish at the start of these games.   The Celtics need to set the tone of the game right from the beginning.  They need to play with energy for 48 minutes and not just the second half because the Raptors are capable of scoring in bunches and have also been playing good defense.  If we dig a hole, we may not be able to get out of it. 
Be aggressive.   The Celtics need to be aggressive on the boards and attacking the the basket.   They shouldn't settle for outside shots but should try to get into the paint.  They also need to attack the boards and limit the Raptors' second chance baskets. 

Game Notes 
In their first meeting in Toronto, Ray Allen had 33 points and hit the game winner at the buzzer in overtime.  In their second meeting in Boston, The Celtics won easily 112-84 but the Raptors were without both Bosh and Bargnani.   The Raptors are playing for pride in this one.  They are the defending Atlantic Division champs and have lost to the Celtics in all three meetings this season already. 

With Ray Allen out, Tony should again get the start and his defense will be needed.   The first meeting in Toronto was very close and the Celtics won on the strength of Ray Allen's big game and game winning shot at the buzzer.  Both teams will be without a key player.  The Celtics will miss Ray Allen and Toronto will miss TJ Ford, who has given the Celtics problems in the past. 

The Raptors have won 4 in a row and during their win streak, they held their opponents to 84.3 points on 40% shooting.  The Raptors defeated Indiana 104-93, Houston 93-80, Atlanta 100-88 and Dallas 92-76.   So, they are winning with defense as well as their outside shooting and the Celtics have struggled against teams that clamp down on defense.  Hopefully they have figured out how to beat the pressing defenses.    The Celtics have also been winning  with defense and so this should be a grind it out defensive matchup.     
Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Jose Calderon
SG:  Tony Allen vs Anthony Parker
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Jamario Moon
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh
C:     Kendrick Perkins vs Rasho Nesterovic
Key Matchup
Kevin Garnett   PPG 18.9 | RPG 10.5 | BPG 1.6
Chris Bosh     PPG 19.1 | RPG 8.5 | BPG 1.3   
Kevin Garnett is one of the best power forwards ever and Chris Bosh is one of the best up and coming power forwards.  This should be a good match up with KG having the advantage because of experience and a height advantage.  
3 Reasons to be Concerned About this Game:    
1.  We are missing Ray Allen who was was the reason we won the first matchup with 33 points and the game winner.  We will miss his outside shooting and the rest of the Celtics must pick up their scoring to make up for his absence.
2. It is an afternoon game.  The Celtics typically play very sluggishly when they play in the afternoon.  KG has stated that he doesn't like afternoon games and his intensity has seemed to be lacking in these early games in the past.  
3.  We blew out the Raptors in Boston and the Raptors have vowed not to let that happen on their court.  They will be motivated and the question is whether the Celtics will be.  They tend to slack off in the beginning and then turn it on in the third.  If they do that with this hot shooting Raptors team who have an axe to grind, they may not be able to pull it out.   
X Factor
Team intensity and defense. These will be the key to the win.  Typically in afternoon games the Celtics are a bit sluggish.  If they can come out and play with intensity and play the type of defense they are capable of, they can get the win. 

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