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Celtics face Raptors for the 3rd time looking to get 1st win

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The Celtics will take on the Toronto Raptors for the 3rd time this season as they look to get back on track against the current Division champs.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

at
Toronto Raptors (3-1) at Boston Celtics (1-2)
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #4, Home Game #2
TV: CSNNE, NBA-LP 755(xfinity), 754 (DTV)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, Sportsnet 590
TD Garden

Referees: Bill Kennedy, Leroy Richardson, Justin Van Duyne

The Celtics will take on the Toronto Raptors for the 3rd time this season already. The Raptors have already beaten the Celtics twice in the preseason and this will be their first regular season game. They will face off 3 more times this season.

The Celtics have had one day off after coming close to an epic comeback from 31 points down against the Dallas Mavericks Monday night. They closed the gap to one point late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t pull out the win. The Raptors are playing in the second of back to back games after a 12 point win over the OKC Thunder on Monday night. They are also at the end of a 4 games in 5 nights stretch.

Rondo will face the Raptors for the first time in this game, having missed both preseason games with the hand injury. We may see more of the Celtics 3 guard lineup in this one with the Raptors starting bigs hurting. The Raptors starting power forward Amir Johnson missed Monday night's game and is expected to miss this game If he can't go, expect Patrick Patterson to fill his spot in the starting lineup.

Starting center, Jonas Valanciunas, is listed as probable for the game, but is hurting. He already had a bruised face going into playing the Thunder last night and left the game with a broken nose courtesy of a flagrant 2 foul from former Celtic Sebastian Telfair. If Valanciunas can't play, former Celtic Greg Stiemsma will probably get the start and will see more minutes at that spot.



Probable Starters

Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk

Celtics Reserves

Phil Pressey
Marcus Smart
Evan Turner
Marcus Thornton
Brandon Bass
Dwight Powell
Tyler Zeller
James Young
Gerald Wallace

Injuries
Vitor Faverani (knee) out


Probable Starters

Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson, Jonas Valanciunas

Raptors Reserves
Chuck Hayes
James Johnson
Tyler Hansbrough
Lou Williams
Greivis Vasquez
Greg Stiemsma
Landry Fields
Lucas Nogueira
Bruno Caboclo

Injuries

Amir Johnson (ankle) questionable

Key Matchups
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Rajon Rondo vs Kyle Lowry
Lowry pretty much had his way with the Celtics in their first preseason matchup with 18 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals. He was off to a good start in the second game but left the game with a minor injury. He is averaging 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists this season and it will be up to Rondo to keep him from having a big game in this one.

vs
Avery Bradley vs DeMar DeRozan
Avery will have his hands full with DeRozan, who is the Raptors' leading scorer, averaging 23.7 points per game. We saw in the second half of the game vs the Mavs that Bradley's defense fuels his offense. Let's hope that having to play tough defense on DeRozan will fuel another offensive burst from the Celtics shooting guard.

Keys to the Game
Pace and Space

The Celtics have to run the court and move the ball. That will be the foundation of their success this season. They have to set the pace of the game and they must continue to move the ball and find the open man.

Defense
Defense has always been and always will be the key to winning. It was the Celtics defense that fueled the comeback against the Mavericks. When they play tough defense it also fuels their offense. The Raptors are averaging almost 105 points per game and so the Celtics will need to come out strong defensively if they want to win this one.

Be Aggressive
The Celtics have started two games in a row very slowly. They showed very little aggressiveness and ended up in a hole in both games. But, in the second half of the game, they woke up and were aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, in crashing the boards, and just all around going all out. They need to start the game with that same aggressive attitude.

Rebound
The Celtics must crash the boards. They can't score if they don't have the ball. Much of rebounding is effort and desire. The Celtics have to be the team that puts out more effort from every player to go after rebounds. Rajon Rondo is the Celtics' leading rebounder at 8.7 RPG. The bigs must step up and crash the boards. If a 6'1" point guard can grab almost 9 rebounds per game, the front line should be able to do more.

X Factor
Fatigue and EffortThe Raptors are playing in back to back games and in their 4th game in 5 nights. Fatigue could come into play down the stretch in this one. The Celtics have an opportunity to get a win against a division rival, but it will depend on which team shows up: the first or second half team. They have to bring extra effort from opening tip until the final buzzer.

Official Report

Bill Kennedy - Bill Kennedy’s 16 seasons of NBA officiating experience include 990 regular season, 63 playoff and five NBA Final games. In addition to his NBA experience, Kennedy has five years of officiating experience in the CBA, including working the 1996 and 1997 CBA Finals. He also officiated two games in the WNBA Finals in 1998 and has 15 years of high school officiating experience in Arizona. Celtics fans will remember Kennedy's run in with Doc Rivers that resulted in both of them being fined. Yes, David Stern fined one of his precious refs and certainly, Kennedy hasn't forgotten. Here is how Doc described the incident:
"[Kennedy] stood there and goaded me and goaded me and goaded me and stared at me," Rivers said. "Look at the film. I actually walked away. He asked me, 'Where do you want the ball?' And I said, 'Ask them,' talking about our players. That's my right to say that, and I walked away. He stood there and stared me down and stared me down and goaded me until I turned around and said, 'What?' That's when I got thrown out of the game."
Doc was fined for criticizing a referee, but since the league fined Kennedy, they as much as admitted that Doc's criticism was deserved. Go figure. According to Tim Donaghy, Bill Kennedy is gay and his beef with Doc stems from Doc questioning his sexual orientation. With Doc out in LA, that should be in the past. He may even feel a certain kinship with the Celtics with both of them being dissed by Doc. The Celtics are 9-1 in their last 10 games with Kennedy while the Raptors are 6-4 in their last 10. Kennedy's home W/L record this season is 0-2.
Leroy Richardson - Leroy Richardson served his country for 12 years in the United States Navy (May 1982 – January 1994), and was the 1991 and 1992 Tactragrulant sailor of the year in Dam Neck, Va. He was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and two Good Conduct Medals. Richardson was an enlisted surface warfare specialist and underwater sea surveillance specialist, was deployed to the Mediterranean from August 1988 through February 1989, and was stationed in Keflavik, Iceland from April 1986 through May 1987.
After leaving the Navy, Richardson decided to pursue officiating full time. Since joining the NBA staff, he has officiated 1,106 regular season games and four playoff games over the past 19 seasons, and was a member of the crews that officiated the 2000 Schick Rookie Game, 2000 NBA All-Star Saturday and the 2003 Japan Games. Richardson has three years of CBA officiating experience as well as 10 years of Pro-Am officiating experience, including the 1992 Pro-Am Nationals. He also has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southeastern and Ohio Valley Conferences. Richardson spent eight years officiating in Virginia high schools, where he worked the VHSL State Tournament. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Richardson while the Raptors are 5-5 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 1-1.
Justin Van Duyne - Justin Van Duyne is one of three new officials for the 2014-15 season. Van Duyne joins the staff after four seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League, already having officiated 16 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. Prior to joining the NBA, Van Duyne officiated in numerous college conferences including the PAC-12, Mountain West, Big West, WCC, and WAC. The Raptors are 1-0 with Van Duyne while the Celtics are 0-1 for his career. His home W/L record this season is 0-2.