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Celtics visit Raptors looking to avenge Wednesday's loss

The Celtics travel to Toronto to complete the home and home set and the 4th and final meeting of these two teams this season.

Jared Wickerham

Boston Celtics (23-48) at Toronto Raptors (40-31)
Friday, March 28, 2014
Regular Season Game #72, Road Game #35
TV: CSNNE, Sportsnet OneL, NBA-LP[ 752(DTV), 511 & 751(Xfinity)]
Radio: WBZ
Air Canada Centre
Referees: Ken Mauer, Curtis Blair, Eric Lewis

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics travel to Toronto to complete the home and home set and the 4th and final meeting of these two teams this season. The Celtics fought hard but lost 99-90 at the Garden on Wednesday night and will be looking to avenge that loss in this one.

The Raptors are fighting for playoff positioning and the win on Wednesday moved them into the 3rd seed in the East. They are tied record wise with the Bulls but win the 3rd seed by virtue of a tie breaker. They are also 2.5 games ahead of Brooklyn for the Atlantic Division title.

The Celtics are still 5th from the bottom of the standings. They are 1/2 game behind the Jazz for the 4th worst record and 1.5 games ahead of the Lakers for the 6th most ping pong balls.

Since these two teams played each other on Wednesday, there won't be many surprises for either team. After Wednesday's loss, Rondo had some nice words to say about Jared Sullinger and said that he asked Coach Stevens to play him with Sully as much as possible. It will be interesting to see if Sully gets more time with Rondo in this one.

Probable Starters

Rajon Rondo...Avery Bradley...Jeff Green...Brandon Bass...Kris Humphries

Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out

Probable Starters

Kyle Lowry...DeMar DeRozan...Terrence Ross...Amir Johnson...Jonas Valanciunas

Raptors Reserves
Tyler Hansbrough
John Salmons
Chuck Hayes
Greivis Vasquez
Landry Fields
Steve Novak
Austin Daye
Julyan Stone
Dwight Buycks

Patrick Patterson (ulna) out
Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Kyle Lowry
Lowry is playing very well for the Raptors and had a big game against the Celtics on Wednesday scoring 23 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Rondo will need to slow Lowry down for the Celtics to win this one.

Jeff Green vs Terrence Ross
Green had an off game on Wednesday as he was struggling with a stiff neck. Chris Johnson filled in very well for him, but Terrence Ross had a big game for the Raptors with 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Whether it is Johnson or Green, we need a good game on both the offensive and defensive ends from the small forward position.

Keys to the Game
Consistent Effort
On Wednesday, the Celtics played very well in spurts. They defended well in the second half for the most part but once again, they had lapses that cost them in the end. They have to find a way to play hard for 48 minutes and avoid those lapses.

Rebound -
The Celtics must crash the boards to prevent the Raptors from getting extra chances and fast breaks. By crashing the boards, they also give themselves a chance for extra possessions. In their win vs the Raptors this season, the Celtics out rebounded Toronto 58-44, including 19-13 on the offensive glass. Their 19 offensive rebounds allowed them to score 25 second chance points. In their loss on Wednesday, the Raptors out-rebounded the Celtics 48-36. The Celtics must crash the boards in this game if they want to get a win.

Get Into the Paint -
On Wednesday, the Celtics were out scored in the paint 40-28. The Celtics can't depend on their jumpers alone. They have to get into the paint and get some easy scores there. They missed quite a few layups on Wednesday and so once they get into the paint, they must concentrate on finishing.

Defense -
The Raptors are a good shooting team and so the Celtics must play team defense to keep them from having a high scoring game. The Celtics must commit to play tough defense if they want to win this game. They defended well at times on Wednesday but at other times they allowed the Raptors to score way too easily.

The Raptors have plenty of motivation to keep the 3rd seed for the playoffs and to win the Atlantic Division. The Celtics are playing for pride and to avenge the home loss on Wednesday. Rondo also will be motivated to get back at the Raptors for his 9 stitches. Which motivation will be stronger?

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