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'Unbeaten' (in the Preseason) Division 'Rivals' (in Toronto's Mind) Toronto and Boston Face Off

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Toronto Raptors (1-0) @ Boston Celtics (2-0)
Time: 6:00 PM EST, October 10th 2010
TV: CSNNE Radio: WEEI
Place: TD Garden
By The Numbers: Celtics' preseason game 3 of 8, Celtics were 4-0 against Toronto last season.
No word yet whether the Raptors have learned to open doors so far this preseason.



So far the Celtics' preseason has been pretty fruitful. They are undefeated (although the games don't matter), and no starter has played more than 21 minutes. On top of that, the Boston Bench Mob (trademarked 2010 by Shaq) has been playing very well so far, and getting the guys in the 8-12 range of the rotation big minutes is kind of the whole point of the preseason.

Toronto has won their lone preseason game, which could very well prove to be one of few both moral and 'actual' victories for the Raptors this season, when they beat the generally will-liked Phoenix Suns and the hated (in Toronto) Hedo Turkeyglue. Linas Klieza was a major part of that, and it will be a much needed test of Boston's backups to see how they defend an athletic scoring 3 like Klieza.

On top of that Toronto is riddled with high energy, very physical, low-skill players that really gave Boston problems last season. It will be an interesting test to see how 'Semih-Automatic' Erden and Glen 'Big Toddler' Davis respond to the challenge.

GAME NEWS: Jermaine will play tonight on limited minutes -IP

Boston Starters:

PLAYER POSITION
Rajon Rondo
Point Guard
Ray Allen
Shooting Guard

Paul Pierce

Small Forward
Kevin Garnett
Power Forward
Shaq O'Neal
Center

Injuries and stuff: Kendrick Perkins (Gone Til' February), Avery Bradley (OUT), Jermaine O'Neal (Day to day, but don't count on him playing tonight), Delonte West (probable), Shaq (Probable)

Toronto Starters:

Player
Position
Jose Calderon
Point Spaniard
DeMar DeRozen
Shooting Guard
Linas 'Linus' Klieza
Small Forward
Reggie Evans
Bearded Forward
Andrea Bargnani
'Center'

Injuries and Stuff: Ed Davis

Since it's the Preseason, let's not get too caught up in 'wins' or 'losses' here, but instead let's look for storylines.

Storyline Juan: West of Wafer

Von Wafer has not played well. That is the truth. While opinions I've seen in the forums and read elsewhere vary on why, most everyone agrees that one of the biggest issues is that Wafer does not look comfortable out there. I didn't get to see much of the second game against the Nets, but in the first game I thought it was mostly a case of Wafer just trying to do too much while on the floor. Von Wafer has 3 things going for him; a fro-hawk, a cool name, and a resume as the type of shooter that can single handedly change the course of a game. We haven't seen Von the shooter, and him trying to sell us on him as a player without the hot shot is like a car salesman telling you that the engine is garbage but the cup holders are the bees knees.

The other guy in this scenario is Mario West. If you knew his name before the preseason started, I'm surprised. He played for the Maine Red Claws last season before he was given the opportunity to catch on with the Atlanta Hawks to the tune of 39 games last season. He hasn't shown it thus-far in the preseason, but Mario West is an old-fashioned hard work over talent kind of player, and his specialty is perimeter defense.

One of the two of these guys are not going to make the regular season roster. The smart money is on Wafer, but Mario West's defensive abilities at the 2 and 3 are a real need for this team, while Wafer's sharp-shooting could be seen as redundant (if it ever shows up) with Delonte and Nate both already around.

Storyline Deux: Awkward White Guys On Our Bench

Neither one has a pretty game, (and because of Luke Harangody's haircut, I wanted to title this one "The Caveman Cometh") but that doesn't mean they don't belong on the roster. Now, this is probably a moot point because neither Luke Harangody or Semih Erden have a chance of cracking the Celtics' rotation this season, but these preseason games are giving us a great insight into both players' current abilities, and what can be expected long term.

Walking into the preseason, Harangody was being heralded as the second coming of Ryan Gomes (Movie Title: 'Twerrible Tweeners'?), while Erden was a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a bakalva kabob (he's Turkish, get it?). Basically Erden was supposed to be the timid prospect, while Harangody was supposed to be the more polished but lower ceiling rookie.

That has all changed. Harangody has not been able to continue with the level of play he showed during the Summer League, while Erden has started turning heads. While Erden is about as smooth as Napoleon Dynamite trying Speed-Dating, he has looked confident, and he hasn't been intimidated by more physical players. Erden's most pleasant surprise has been his pretty amazing (in light of most people's preconceptions) passing ability, and his lack of hesitation to try to make things happen when he has the ball in his hands. Both of these guys will probably make the team, but if either Erden or Harangody start making real statements with their play in the next 5 games, one of them could stay off the Red Claws' roster (meaning they could make the Celtics' 13 man active roster).

Storyline Three: (Re)Definition Of A Baby

Glen Davis started out as an undersized high-energy guy who could hit a jumpshot, while Leon Powe was the undersized high-energy guy who could score in the post and rebound. Then, after Powe left (we miss you, dawg) Baby was forced to be more of a post presence and a higher level defender in the paint. Now, we have Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal so Baby will once again be relegated mostly to the perimeter on offense.

Glen 'Toddler' Davis spoke on this earlier in the season, wishing he could have some consistency in what has been asked of him. Doc basically told him to grow up. So far this season Glen Davis has looked pretty darn good, scoring 13 points in the opener, and 20 points against the Nets, while attempting 10 free throws in each of the 2 games. Glen Davis might never been a night in night out starter until he manages to grow another 2 inches or so, but he's been one of the better surprises this pre-season, and with Shaq already needing a day off yesterday and Jermaine out until probably the next game, Glen Davis will have another opportunity to prove we need him as much as he needs twinkies us.

So grab some pop-corn, pick a bench-binkie, and settle in for some probably sloppy pre-season basketball!