Toronto Raptors (16-17) at Boston Celtics (23-8)
Saturday, January 2
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #32, Home Game #15
TV: CSN HD, TSN 2, LP 758
Radio WEEI, CJCL
TD Banknorth Garden Today's Referees: Dan Crawford, John Goble, Josh Tiven
The Celtics will once again be missing several key players. KG, Pierce, Rondo and Daniels are all expected to miss this game. The Raptors will be missing Calderon and Turkoglu. JR Giddens is expected to get the first start of his NBA career in this game, moving Tony Allen over to the starting point guard spot. Playing Tony at the point, let alone starting him there is a very puzzling move. This will be a very interesting game, if nothing else.
The Raptors have won 5 games in a row and would love to keep their streak going. The Celtics have lost 3 in a row and would very much love to stop their streak at 3.
Winning this game isn't as important as making sure that the team is healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs. This game is winnable for the Celtics even with the injuries if the others step up their games.
TAllen/ R Allen/ Giddens / Wallace / Perkins
Jack/ DeRozan/ Wright/Bosh/ Bargnani
Rasheed Wallace vs Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh has been playing very well in recent games. In the past, he has played timidly against KG, but Sheed probably won't have the same effect on him. Bosh leads all forwards with 24 double doubles and needs nust 39 points to tie Vince Carter as the team's all time leading scorer. This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics and Sheed has got to play inside if he is going to counteract Bosh's play. With Turkoglu and Calderon out, Bosh will be the main scoring threat for Toronto.
• The Suns are currently leading the season series 1-0; Celtics won the season series 2-0 against the Suns in 2008-09
• Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 27.5 points per game last season
• Steve Nash averaged 15.5 points per game in the two match-ups
• It marked the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Celtics had swept the season series.
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 61-48 with the Celtics 35-18 at home
Keys to The Game Defense, Defense, Defense The Celtics must find their defense again. They have been allowing way too many open shots and easy baskets recently. They need to get back to what has made them such a tough team. Against the Raptors, they especially need to tighten up their perimeter defense as they are a very good 3 point shooting team.
Rebound The Celtics have to crash the boards on both ends. Defensive rebounds prevent second chance opportunities for the Raptors and Offensive rebounds given them extra shots along with preventing the fast break for the Raptors. Rebounding is mostly effort and desire and the Celtics need to be showing both of those things. Sheed needs to play inside more and forget about the 3 point line.
Take it To the Hoop The Celtics need to take the ball into the paint and either get the score or draw the foul. Quick 3's are not good offense, especially the way they haven't been falling for them recently. They need to run the offense and move the ball and make the extra pass.
Both teams have key injuries and the play of the benches and subs will be key to determining which team gets the win.