Boston Celtics (1-4) at Toronto Raptors (3-1)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Preseason Game #6
TV: CSNNE, NBA-TV Canada, 511(Comcast), 751(DTV)
Air Canada Centre
Referees: Courtney Kirkland, Kane Fitzgerald, Marat Kogut
Game Thread l Chat
The Celtics face their second set of back to back games in the preseason as they take on the Toronto Raptors on the road. This will be a homecoming of sorts for the Celtics rookie and resident Canadian, Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk was born in Toronto and lived there until 7th grade when they moved to Kamloops, BC. His mother worked for the Toronto Raptors, with one of her jobs being scorekeeper.
The Celtics, unlike in years past, should have the young legs to handle back to back games physically. The question will be, as a young team, whether they can handle them mentally. Toronto comes into this game well rested, having last played on Saturday. The Raptors are also returning many of the same players from last year along with the same coach so they have those advantages as well.
This is the second meeting between these two teams this season. The Raptors opened the preseason with a visit to TD Garden which ended in a Celtics 97-89 defeat. These two teams will also meet in their regular season opener which will also be in Toronto two weeks from today.
The Celtics have had time to work up some chemistry and also to develop some defense and so the Raptors shouldn't expect to shoot 52% in this game as they did in their first meeting. Despite not being able to get the win, that Celtics defense held the Nets to just 35.5% shooting last night. The Celtics were impressive in the second night of their first back-to-back of the preseason. In that game, the Celtics dominated the Knicks in a 111-81 victory.
The Celtics should be settling their rotations now that they are 5 games into the preseason. Coach Stevens has started the same lineup of Crawford, Bradley, Green, Bass and Sullinger in the last two games, but it isn't certain that he will stick with that lineup tonight. Green and Bass have been outplayed by Wallace and Humphries and so that may play into a change in that lineup. The Raptors' starting lineup should be Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, and Jonas Valanciunas.
Rajon Rondo (ACL)out
Keith Bogans (thumb) out
Players to Watch
Jordan Crawford has been the surprise of the season so far. He has made good decisions and has been the Celtics' best option at point guard so far. Hopefully he will continue to impress as the preseason winds down.
Kelly Olynyk will be playing in front of his home crowd and should have a big game in this one. He played will last night against the Nets, but fouled out. Hopefully he can stay on the court in this one to give his Canadian fans a nice show.
Players to Watch
Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 17 points in their first meeting. He is capable of taking over a game if not guarded closely. It would be good to have Gerald Wallace on him if he starts to get hot.
Jonas Valanciunas gives the Raptors size inside and the Celtics have struggled to control the paint. The Celtics were outscored in the paint 52-34 in their first meeting and need to keep the Raptors' bigs out of the paint in this one.
Keys to the Game
Rebound - In the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics were out rebounded 46-26. They must crash the boards if they want to win this one.
Defense - The Raptors shot 52% in their first meeting. The Celtics defense has evolved since that first game and they must defend them better.
Get The Offense Going - The Celtics have struggled to score and they need to work the ball inside more and try to get better percentage shots.
Find What Works - These are still preseason games and the goal has to be to find the combinations and lineups that work best. They still need to do some experimentation to find the best lineups and best rotation.
Have Fun and Build Chemistry - I've seen screen shots of players laughing together on the bench and that's a good thing. This team should have fun and continue to build chemistry since there are so many new players this year. .