The Boston Celtics will be without their all star Rajon Rondo, but they’re not to be underestimated as they’re on a four game winning streak with wins against the Heat and Clippers. On that token, despite a blowout win earlier in the season, the Celtics are sizing the Raptors up to be a challenge. “When you add a talent like Rudy Gay to go along with DeRozan and a healthy Kyle Lowry…they could be dangerous,” said Pierce of the new look Raptors.
Toronto lost by 15 points against the Heat but the game was closer than the final boxscore would indicate. It was 84-81 with five minutes left in the game, but the defending champs were too much for the Raptors and ballooned the lead to 15. Despite the record difference between the two teams, the Heat needed strong efforts from LeBron – who had 30 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds – and Bosh, who had 28 points – 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
The league has already taken notice of the Raptors. Dwane Casey believes the acquisition of Rudy Gay has instilled confidence in DeMar DeRozan to excel as a player. DeMar put up 27 points against Miami’s stifling defense. ”It takes the heat off of him because now teams can’t double team or send a man-and-a-half to him to put pressure on him when he has the ball,” said Casey.
While the Celtics have been lacking as an offensive unit it’s their defense that has been leading the charge. Avery Bradley possesses near lockdown defensive ability at the point guard position and Courtney Lee has a reputation for being a tenacious defender. The trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay will be tested against the Celtics’ formidable backcourt defense.
While DeRozan has benefited from the defensive attention Rudy Gay has been absorbing, Kyle Lowry has been lackluster. He scored only 3 points against the Clippers and 10 against the Heat. Lowry is coming off of back spasms and it’s been said he was struggling with it against Miami. The Raptors will need to have him return to form.
Andrea Bargnani might also be back for the game. Yippee. On a serious note, Bargnani is due for some good string of performances, and Casey sounds optimistic about him coming back strong. The Raptors coach said he had his best practice and grabbed some tough rebounds. Encouraging.
Game starts at 7pm E.T.