No Boston Celtics basketball for quite some time. At least it gave us all a chance to watch those top draft prospects this past weekend. The Celtics start a home-and-home tonight against the Atlantic Division leaders the Toronto Raptors. That sentence feels weird to say, and I don’t know if I will ever get used to it. The Celtics start this set at home and will be looking to continue adding games to their tank bank.
Toronto has turned themselves into a more competent team than anyone thought they would be this season. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are one of the most difficult backcourts for any team to handle. They are both excellent on offense, and their team defense has been better this year than in previous seasons. Both players are learning to use their size to their advantage on both ends, something that speaks volumes to how far both players have progressed since just last year.
The Celtics have had a long break since their last game, so they should be very well-rested for their game tonight. Sure, that may sound like a good thing for a team trying to win games to make the playoffs, but for these Celtics, losses are most important and hopefully they don’t steal one from the Raptors because of their fresh legs. The rest will do wonders for Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. Expect both of them to have strong games tonight, with Bradley having some rust on his jumper. It will be fun to watch both of them blaze up and down the court with a Raptor team that loves the transition game.
At this point of the season, no one would blame you for passing on tonight’s game with Toronto. This year has been tough to push through, even with a team that isn’t too far from being relevant in the Eastern Conference. Tonight should make for some intriguing basketball with some young players going at each other. Jared Sullinger and Jonas Valanciunas will get some run against one another, and it would be nice to see how both Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk deal with the long and athletic front line of the Raptors.
Prediction: Raptors 94, Celtics 91