We aren’t alone in our affinity for college basketball. Who was surprised to hear that coach Brad Stephens was paying a lot of attention to the NCAA Tournament? Better yet, who was surprised to see the Boston Celtics lose the first game of the home-and-home set with the Toronto Raptors? Who would be surprised to see the Celts lose in Toronto tonight? Why am I talking about surprises all of a sudden? Because I am shocked at the amount of people who are against tanking this season. Not just Boston Celtic fans, but sports fans in general.
Before getting into tonight’s contest, let’s discuss something brief. Are any Celtic fans concerned about the March Madness performances of Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker? What is the benefit from finishing as the 9th or 10th seed this season? Tanking is the ultimate way to rebuild a franchise without the benefit of luring mega free agents into town. The Celtics don’t have a great history of signing big-name players. So why not trade young assets like we did for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen? Well, we need to acquire them first via the draft, or by getting a top-three pick to move in a deal come draft day. Sure, there is an inherent risk in devoting time and hope into young and unproven talent, but if you never put yourself in the position to get a player with a high ceiling, then what’s the point of middling in city that is hungry to be on top again.
Anyway, tonight in Toronto, we should see a game similar to the one earlier in the week. Jared Sullinger matches up very nicely with this Raptor front court, as he outweighs them by 20-30 lbs (I don’t care what they are all listed, just use the eye test). Rajon Rondo is very happy to be playing alongside Sullinger, and recently asked to be on the court with him as much as possible. Hopefully Rondo and the backcourt play better than they did against the Raptors on Wednesday.
Toronto is looking to clinch the Atlantic Division as quickly as possible. A win tonight would lessen their magic number. It would also put more pressure on the Brooklyn Nets to keep winning and stay in the division hunt. I expect Kyle Lowry and company to push the pace, as they are more athletic than this Celtics group and will use that to their advantage.
Prediction: Raptors 104, Celtics 92
Tags: Boston Celtics