Boston Celtics (48-29) at Toronto Raptors (38-39)
Wednesday, April 7
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #78, Road Game #39
TV: CSN-NE, TSN2, NBA LP 752
Air Canada CenterThe Raptors were an expansion franchise that began playing in 1995 at the SkyDome (now known as the Rogers Centre). Built as a multipurpose stadium for football and baseball, the SkyDome was too large for basketball games. Construction of a new arena for the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) began in February 1997.
Located in downtown Toronto along Bay Street, the Raptors played their first game at the Air Canada Center on February 21, 1999 against the Vancouver Grizzlies. Air Canada paid $40 million over 20 years for the naming rights to the Raptors home. The arena is unique as it was built on the site of the Canada Post Delivery Building and has incorporated part of the original building into the façade on the east and south parts of the Air Canada Center. Many fans enter through this area, known as the Galleria, where the fan zone and merchandise areas can be found. The Air Canada Center has a seating capacity of just under 20,000. It has many modern amenities including 1,020 club seats, 150 suites, the Molson microbrewery, the Air Canada Club and the Hot Stove Restaurant. Coach: Doc Rivers
Average Age: 27.9
Average Height: 6-6
Average Weight: 224 Probable Starters
Rondo/ R Allen/ Pierce/ Garnett / Perkins
Marquis Daniels Injuries
None Coach: Jay Triano
Average Age: 26.7
Average Height: 6-7
Average Weight: 226
Calderon/ Weems/ Wright/ Evans/ BargnaniReserves
Chris Bosh (face) questionable
Amir Johnson and Rasheed Wallace were teammates in Detroit from 2006-09
Marcus Banks played for the Celtics from 2003-06
DeMar DeRozan and Brian Scalabrine are former USC Trojans
Reggie Evans and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle from 2003-06
Rasho Nesterovic, Jarrett Jack and Marquis Daniels were teammates in Indiana during the 2008-09 season
Nesterovic and Kevin Garnett were teammates in Minnesota from 1998-2003
Patrick O’Bryant played for the Celtics during the 2008-09 season
Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games and both are coming off a loss. The Celtics put out a very flat effort against the Knicks and wasted a very good opportunity to pull ahead of the Knicks again for the 3rd seed. The Raptors are coming off a tough game against the Cavs where they lost Chris Bosh to an injury as well as the game. Bosh left early in the game after Jamison caught him with an elbow. Bosh suffered a maxilla and nasal fracture to the right side of his face and is expected to remain in Cleveland overnight for further evaluation.
The Celtics came out flat to begin the game against the Knicks and never seemed to click, especially on defense. They allowed Gallinari to torch them for 31 points and allowed the Knicks to score 104 points. They were also out rebounded by 10 in this game. They didn't put out the effort and they missed an opportunity to pull back into the 3rd spot as Atlanta lost in Charlotte.
The Celtics need to find their defense if they expect to win even the first round in the playoffs. And they need to gain some momentum going into the playoffs and it has to start with this game in Toronto. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Jose Calderon
Rondo had an off game against the Knicks and needs to get back on track in this one. Calderon is a very quick and smart PG and Rondo is going to have to come in focused and play smart in this game.
Kevin Garnett vs Reggie Evans
With Bosh's injury, it's just a guess that Evans will start in his place. If so, this should be a mismatch in the Celtics favor and KG has to take advantage of it. Honorable Mention
Kendrick Perkins vs Andrea Bargnani
Bargnani loves to hang on the perimeter and is the type of center that gives Perk some problems on defense. With Perk's knee problems, staying with him will be even more difficult.
The C’s are 2-0 against the Raptors during the 2009-10 season; Celtics swept the season series 4-0 against Toronto in 2008-09
Rasheed Wallace is currently leading the C’s with an average of 20.0 points per game against Toronto this season
Chris Bosh is putting up a double-double against the C’s this season with 25.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game
Season sweep by C’s marked first time since 1997-98 season that C’s accomplished that feat against Toronto
The Celtics are leading the all-time series 36-20 with the Celtics 20-8 at homeKeys to The Game Defense, Defense, Defense
The Celtics must play defense. Against the Raptors, they especially need to tighten up their perimeter defense as Toronto is a very good 3 point shooting team. Rebound
The Celtics have to crash the boards on both ends. Defensive rebounds prevent second chance opportunities for the Raptors and Offensive rebounds give them extra shots along with preventing the fast break for the Raptors. Rebounding is mostly effort and desire and the Celtics need to be showing both of those things. Sheed needs to play inside more and forget about the 3 point line. The Celtics have been allowing way too many second chance opportunities by not being aggressive enough on the boards all this season. Play 48 Minutes
The Celtics need to take control early and not let up. They have to solve their problems of second half let downs and they have to play all 48 minutes with no letting up. Bench Play
Playing in back to back games, the Celtics are going to need to get some production from their bench so as not to wear out the starters. The bench must give them quality minutes in this game and heading into the playoffs. They won't win if the starters have to do all the scoring or if the bench players allow too many points from the opposing team. X-Factor
Back to Back Games and Effort
Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games and so fatigue may become a factor for both teams. The X Factor for the Celtics will be whether they bother to put out any effort. They sure didn't against the Knicks. The need to bring it against the Raptors.