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Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors: 12/7/07 - Game Preview

UPDATE While I did not put Chris Bosh in the projected starting lineup I did think that he would be in the building. That is not the case. Don't expect Bargnani either.

Records
Boston 15-2, Toronto 10-9

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

Match Ups
The Point Guards - In looking over the box score of Toronto's last game I noticed that TJ Ford scored 27 points in close to 24 minutes...off the bench. Meanwhile, Calderon got the start and played 32 minutes. Whoa I did not get that memo. So I went back through the box scores.  Ford earned a DNP on December 3rd, saw only thirteen minutes of time on December 1st, played 16 minutes on November 30th, and notched three more DNPs stretching back to the last game he started - a game in Dallas on November 20th. What have we learned? TJ Ford has battled injury of late and I am not exactly following the NBA all that closely. However, from a match up stand point this could be a problem. Remember in their previous game this season Ford dropped 32, seemingly at will? If he comes off the bench that increases the likelihood that Eddie House will have to mark him for longer stretches than anyone wants.

Chris Bosh/Kevin Garnett - I'd argue that the Bobcats game (November 24th) was the last "Holy crap Kevin Garnett is awesome" game. Granted he has put up numbers since then. So this is more of a testament to how great he can be than to any recent struggles per say. Regardless Garnett is due. Meanwhile, Bosh has been in and out of the lineup this season and even with the 17th ranked per (Insider necessary) the general perception has been that "the third guy drafted after Darko" has struggled.

Scheduling Note
Both teams played Wednesday night and then had Thursday off in preparation for tonight. While Toronto was in Canada for its last game and Boston was on the road, I'll still give the edge to a healthy Celtics squad at home for this one.

Getting to Know Random Players on the Raptors

Jamario Moon - The last time these two teams met Moon was a no name that was notching his second, of what looked to be many, DNPs. But a funny thing has happened since Moon earned some time against Milwaukee (November 6th). His frantic, over the rim style of play has won people over and earned him even more time. I can't wait to watch him live.

Jorge Garbajosa - Garbajosa is one of those "glue guys" that basketball fans love to watch. As an added bonus he is one of the few international players that Tommy Heinsohn begrudgingly accepts. Unfortunately Garbajosa also broke his leg in a pretty horrific fashion towards the end of last season, against the Celtics. I'd post the clip but I'm terrified of it. To make matters worse his recovery has not been smooth. I'm hoping he gets it going by the end of the season, even if that does strengthen a division rival. Thanks to True Hoop for the heads up on the Garbajosa article.

Anthony "freaking" Parker - I demand that bloggers everywhere get together and share their opinions of Parker. He's a regular Celtics killer. I have no idea how good he actually is on a regular basis.

Biggest Strengths
Say what you want about Bryan Colangelo trading a big with range (Charlie Villanueva) for an injury prone guard (TJ Ford). But at least Colangelo had a plan: model UN, guys who can spread the floor and shoot, versatility and athleticism. Granted injuries have derailed them for a bit and they are currently one game over .500. But the Raptors are a fun team.

Biggest Weaknesses
Injuries. Garbajosa is out, Andrea Bargnani did not play last game and both Ford and Bosh are not 100%. That said they still can score. See the 123 points they put up against the Suns. Of course Phoenix scorched them for 136. Get it "Suns" and "scorched" in back-to-back sentences. I'm awesome.

Miscellaneous Note
The  Raptors have a very active fan base on the Internet. Just throwing that out there.

Random YouTube Clip
Two words: Jamario Moon.

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