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Celtics Look for Sweep as Raptors Come to Town


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Toronto Raptors (22-19) at Boston Celtics (33-6)
Event: Regular Season Game #40, Home Game #22
Date: Wednesday, January 23 2008
Time: 7:30 PM ET
TV:  NBA LP ch 754,  CSN HD, SCORE
Radio: Sirius 143
Location: TD Banknorth Garden
Chat   l  Game Thread     

Raptors Coverage:   Hoops Addict    l   Raptors HQ   l   Raptors Talk    
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 third meeting was again a Celtics victory and this time, the Celtics were without Ray Allen.   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.  

The Raptors are also one of the best free throw shooting teams in the NBA and are shooting 80.4% from the line as a team.  They have 9 players who are shooting over 80% from the line and so the Celtics will need to be careful fouling them.  They are also only turning the ball over 11.9 times per game.   The Celtics catch a break in that TJ Ford will be out as he is one of the point guards who seems to give Rondo trouble. 

This should be a good game a rivalry has developed between the two teams.  Hopefully, Pierce and company will learn from the last game and not let emotions get away from them.   The Celtics are 10-0 against Atlantic Division teams, including 3-0 against the Raptors.  The Celtics should win this one and stay perfect in their division. 
Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Jose Calderon
SG:  Ray Allen vs Anthony Parker
SF:  Paul Pierce vs Jamario Moon
PF:  Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh
C:   Kendrick Perkins vs Andrea Bargnani
Key Matchups 
Kevin Garnett  Vs 
Kevin Garnett   PPG 19.3 | RPG 9.8 | BPG 1.4
Chris Bosh  PPG 22.2 | RPG 9.3 | BPG 1.1
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.
Kendrick Perkins  Vs 
Kendrick Perkins   PPG 7.2 | RPG 5.8 | BPG 1.2 
Andrea Bargnani   PPG 8.7 | RPG 3.4 | BPG 0.5
Andrea Bargnani is a #1 draft pick and has shown some promise so far.  Perk and Bargnani have two very different games with Bargnani playing more on the perimeter and Perk playing inside.    Perk is coming off a huge game against the Knicks and may be able to exploit this matchup as well. 
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 51%,  followed by Anthony Parker (48%) and Jose Calderon at 42%.    They can beat you from long distance and so the Celtics must pay attention to their defense on the perimeter. 

Ball Movement  The Celtics play best when they move the ball and find the open man.  When players try to do to much and when they go one on one, the ball stops and so does the offense.  They need to continue to move the ball and make the Raptors use up energy on defense as they chase the ball. 

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 limit the Raptors' second chance baskets by going after and grabbing rebounds. 
Fast Start  The Toronto papers are reporting that the Raptors are going to need a fast start to beat the Celtics.  They are going to come out strong to try to avoid the sweep and the Celtics will need to match that in order to avoid getting down early and having to play uphill the rest of the way.  
Home Court Advantage.  The Celtics will have the home crowd behind them and they need to feed off that. 

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