The NBA is set up with another great night of action throughout March 4. Nine games will be up on the board throughout Thursday night before the NBA goes on its All-Star break. The Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics will meet up in one of those games. These two teams will look to get a big win in this one. This game will tip off at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
The Raptors have started out this season with a record of 17-18, which has them sitting in seventh place of the Eastern Conference. Toronto is a game back on the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The Raptors are coming off a loss in their last game. Toronto has won five of their last eight though and will look to keep it going in this one.
Boston has put up a record of 18-17 throughout this season, which has them in sixth place of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have won three games in a row and will look to build on that winning streak before the All-Star break. Boston is only half a game back from the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and will look to climb up before the break.
These two teams are in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, which should lead to a great game on Thursday night. The Celtics have been a little bit better throughout the beginning of this season, but Toronto will look to knock off this Boston team. The Raptors are coming off a bad loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night and will look to come out with motivation in this one.
The Raptors and the Celtics met up four times throughout regular season last season. Boston was able to win the first two games, but Toronto bounced back with a win in the third game. The Celtics finished the season series with a win. These two teams met up again in the second round of the playoffs. These two teams went back and forth, but it was Boston who grabbed a win in Game 7 to move on.
These two teams have met up twice so far this season as well. Toronto hosted the first game on January 4. Fred VanVleet dropped 35 points, while Pascal Siakam finished with 22 points. Jayson Tatum put up 40 points. Payton Pritchard added another 23 points and 8 assists off the bench to help the Celtics grab a 126-114 win on the road.
Boston hosted the second game of the season series on February 11. Kyle Lowry scored 24 points and Pascal Siakam added 23 points. Once again, the Raptors came up short in this one. Semi Ojeleye dropped 24 points, while Kemba Walker scored 21 points. Payton Pritchard finished with 20 points off the bench as Boston earned a 120-106 win.
The Celtics have won five of the last six games against Toronto in the regular season. On top of that, Boston was able to win their second round series against the Raptors 4-3. The Celtics will look to keep up their success against Toronto in this one. The Raptors will look to come out quickly in this one as they try to turn their success around against the Celtics.
Field Goal Shooting
Toronto has struggled shooting the ball throughout this season. The Raptors have made 45.2 percent of their shots from the field, which is 24th in the league. Toronto has also made 38.3 percent of their shots from deep, which is 7th in the NBA. The Raptors have drained 83.2 percent of their shots from the free throw line, which is 3rd in the league.
The Celtics have not been great shooting so far this season either. Boston has been able to make around 46.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 16th in the NBA. The Celtics are shooting 37.1 percent from behind the arc, which is 12th in the league. Boston has sunk 76.5 percent of their shots from the charity stripe, which is 22nd in the NBA.
Boston holds a slight edge shooting the ball so far this season, but the Raptors have been a little bit better on defense. Toronto has held their opponents to a 45.2 percent from the field, which is 7th in the league. The Celtics have allowed opposing teams to sink 46.7 percent of their shots from the field, which is 16th in the NBA. The Raptors will need their defense to step up as they are likely short staffed.
Kyle Lowry has had a strong start to this season and will look to lead Toronto in this one. Lowry is averaging 18 points and 6.5 assists per game. Norman Powell has averaged 17.5 points per game. Chris Boucher has averaged 13 points per game. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby are all likely out for this one, which hurts them.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have helped lead Boston throughout this season. Tatum has averaged 25 points and 7 rebounds per game. Brown is averaging 25 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kemba Walker has averaged 18.5 points per game as well this season. Marcus Smart is out for this one. He was averaging 13 points per game before going down with injury.
The Raptors are hurting with people out because of health and safety protocols. Toronto is without VanVleet and Siakam have both averaged 20 points per game this season. Anunoby was averaging 14 points to help round out this lineup. The Raptors will need players to step up throughout this game if they want a chance to earn a win before the All-Star break.
These two teams have been hovering around .500 throughout the early part of this season. Toronto is without three key players and their head coach. The Raptors will need some bench players to step up throughout this one and to get some good defense early. I think that Toronto might take a tough loss in this one, but I do not expect them to go down without a fight.
BetOnline has the Celtics listed as a -8 against the spread in this one. This gives a huge edge to Boston, which makes sense with all of the Raptors absences. I think that this line is still really big for a rivalry like this one. Toronto is a strong team and I think that they will look to come out strong in this one. If the Raptors can have some heroes step up on Thursday, it could help them keep this one close to the end.