Friday November 16th
Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics
The Raptors and Celtics face off for the second time this season. The first meeting resulted in a convincing 113-101 win for the Raptors. Toronto enter the game with a question mark at the shooting guard position, Danny Green left Wednesday's game against Detroit with an apparent lower back injury. If he is unavailable, the Raptors lose their most dependable 3-point shooter. Green is shooting 44.6% from distance. O.G. Anunoby (29.4%) or CJ Miles (27.3%) would offer a significant drop off. This season, the Raptors have moved Serge Ibaka to the 5 spot and it has resulted in better shot selection as Serge is shooting 57.6% from the field. Kawhi Leonard gives the Raptors a defensive anchor, who can use his positioning and quick hands to turn defence into offence can score efficiently in transition and in the half court.
Kyrie Irving is the Celtics' leading scorer at 20.7 per game. Gordon Hayward is still slowly finding his way back to form however Jaylen Brown is picking up the slack averaging 11.8 ppg. Marcus Morris has also been a force on the offensive end, with his ability to spread the floor and shoot the ball consistently from deep.
The Raptors have lost two in row for the first time this season and are looking to bounce back against one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Celtics rank 3rd overall in opponent points per game. The Raptors average 117.4 ppg (4th) while the Celtics average 105 ppg (25th). The Celtics are an excellent home team, posting a 4-1 record at the Garden. Shot selection is a key to this game, the Raptors rank #2 in the league shooting 48.6% the Celtics rank #29 at 42%.
This game will come down to two matchups: Jayson Tatum is the Celtics most versatile offensive threat and Kawhi's ability to keep him in check will be a crucial factor. Kyle Lowry (16.1ppg,4.2 rpg, 10.1 apg) vs Kyrie Irving (20.7 ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.5apg) is the key matchup at point guard. Both play a different style: if Lowry can get his teammates involved early and if Kyrie can set the tempo that may be the determining factor.
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