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Celtics look to shake off trades and OT loss as they visit the Raptors

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The Celtics will try to shake off the trades and the OT loss to the Pacers as they take on the Toronto Raptors for the 3rd time this season.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


at
Boston Celtics (12-22) at Toronto Raptors (24-11)
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Regular Season Game #35, Road Game #16
TV: CSNNE, Sportsnet 360, NBA-LP 758(DTV), 751(Xfinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7, Sportsnet 590
Air Canada Centre

Referees: Zach Zarba, Bill Kennedy, Derek Richardson


The Celtics will try to shake off the trades and the OT loss to the Pacers as they take on the Toronto Raptors for the 3rd time this season. The Celtics lost to the Raptors twice in the preseason and again on November 5 when they met in Boston for the first time in the regular season.

The Celtics, in spite of learning that two teammates had been traded just before the game, hung in with the Pacers to force overtime before losing by 4 points. They then had to travel from Indiana to Toronto and will have their hands full with a Raptors team that is 5-0 against Atlantic Division teams and that leads the division by 8 games.

Assuming that Danny hasn't traded half the team by game time, I've done my best to keep up with the roster. Jae Crowder started at small forward in place of Jeff Green and I assume that he will start again in this game. The trade is not yet official and so no additional players will be available for this game. Hopefully James Young will once again be active. Jameer Nelson has said that he is healthy enough to play but with the numbers crunch has remained on the inactive list with rumors that he will be bought out.

This is the 6th of 18 back to back sets for the Celtics this season. It is their first road/road set. They are 2-3 in the second game of back to backs so far. The Raptors have lost 4 in a row and are hoping to avoid their first 5 game losing streak this season. The Raptors are 14-4 at home while the Celtics are just 4-11 on the road.



Probable Starters

Evan Turner...Avery Bradley...Jae Crowder...Jared Sullinger...Tyler Zeller
Celtics Reserves
Phil Pressey
Brandon Bass
Kelly Olynyk
Gerald Wallace
Marcus Smart
James Young
Marcus Thornton
Jameer Nelson

Injuries
None

Maybe players
Jeff Green (probably not)
Tayshaun Prince (nope)
Austin Rivers (Nah)


Probable Starters


Kyle Lowry...Terrence Ross...Landry Fields...Amir Johnson...Jonas Valanciunas

Raptors Reserves

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

Injuries

DeMar DeRozan (adductor) out

Game Notes
The Celtics will try to shake off the trades and the OT loss to the Pacers as they take on the Toronto Raptors for the 3rd time this season. The Celtics lost to the Raptors twice in the preseason and again on November 5 when they met in Boston for the first time in the regular season.

The Celtics, in spite of learning that two teammates had been traded just before the game, hung in with the Pacers to force overtime before losing by 4 points. They then had to travel from Indiana to Toronto and will have their hands full with a Toronto team that is 5-0 against Atlantic Division teams and that leads the division by 8 games.

Assuming that Danny hasn't traded half the team by game time, I've done my best to keep up with the roster. Jae Crowder started at small forward in place of Jeff Green and I assume that he will start again in this game. It's doubtful that Prince and/or Salmons will be available for this game. Hopefully James Young will once again be active. Jameer Nelson has said that he is healthy enough to play but with the numbers crunch has remained on the inactive list.

This is the 6th of 18 back to back sets for the Celtics this season. It is their first road/road set. They are 2-3 in the second game of back to backs so far. The Raptors have lost 4 in a row and are hoping to avoid their first 5 game losing streak this season. The Raptors are 14-4 at home while the Celtics are just 4-11 on the road.


Kind of scary, huh?

Key Matchups
vs
Evan Turner vs Kyle Lowry
Lowry has become one of the best point guards in the east. He is averaging 20.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.5 steals. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart should see time guarding Lowry while Turner guards Ross. It will be fun to watch Smart and Lowry, two physical guards go at each other.

vs
Tyler Zeller vs Jonas Valanciunas
It doesn't get easier for Tyler Zeller. Against the Pacers, he had to deal with Roy Hibbert and now he has to face Jonas Valanciunas who is averaging 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks.

Player to Watch


In last night's game, Kelly showed flashes of the player most Celtics fans are hoping he will become. A Toronto native, he will be playing in front of family and friends in this game. Hopefully that will spur him to a big game and not make him nervous and miss everything.

Keys to the Game
Defense
Defense has always been and always will be the key to winning. It was the Celtics defense that fueled the win over the Nets. When they play tough defense it also brings more energy to their offense. The Raptors are 5th in scoring at 107.7 points per game so it will be very important to bring tough defense right from the start and keep it up through the final buzzer.

Be Aggressive
The Celtics must be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, in crashing the boards, and just all around going all out. They have to aggressively attack the basket. They need to start the game with that aggressive attitude and be aggressive throughout.

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.

Pace and Focus
The Celtics need to run on every possession and move the ball in order to find the open man. They also have to keep their focus and avoid costly turnovers.

X-Factors
Back to Back and Distractions
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games along with having to travel over night. Even though they are a young team, fatigue may be an issue for them. They also have a lot of distractions that they have to ignore. They can't let the hostile crowd or the trades of their teammates affect them.

Official Report

Zach Zarba

Zach Zarba has officiated 697 regular season NBA games, 27 playoff games and one Finals game during his 11 year career. Prior to joining the NBA, Zarba officiated in the NBA Development League for two years, where he was part of the crew that officiated the 2003 D-League Finals. He also spent one year officiating in the CBA and two years officiating in the IBL. Zarba has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, ASUN, OVC and NEC Conferences. In addition, he has three years of high school officiating experience in New York. In a win over Cleveland last season, Zarba made 3 terrible calls down the stretch which prompted Tommy to say "Zach Zarba, every time we have this guy he makes things up." The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Zarba and the Raptors are 1-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 17-14.

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 1-1 this season (Lakers and Raptors) and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Kennedy while the Raptors are 3-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10. Kennedy's home W/L record this season is 15-15.

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson has officiated 995 regular season games and one playoff game, as well as the 2003 NBA Rookie Game in Atlanta, during his 17 seasons as an NBA official. Prior to joining the NBA, Richardson spent eight years officiating in the CBA, including the 1996 CBA All-Star game and two games of the 1996 CBA Finals. Richardson is known for being inconsistent with his calls, especially on charge/block calls. The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Richardson. The Raptors are 2-2 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Richardson as a ref. His home W/L record this season is 14-12