Celtics at Raptors, game-day Dino-bytes
An updated look at Wednesday’s Celtics-Raptors game.
BOSTON (24-23) at TORONTO (17-31)
Air Canada Centre
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet; RADIO: FAN590
WEB: Yes, the usual in-game blog will begin shortly before 7 p.m., come for all the fun.
Boston: Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett; Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray.
Key backups tonight
Boston: Leandro Barbosa (The Blur will go left and try to beat you with his speed), Jeff Green (tough matchup with varied skills); Toronto: Terrence Ross (needs to have a more consistent impact), Alan Anderson (taking shots is okay as long as you’re making them).
Boston leads, 1-0
Celtics won by 18 in Boston in mid-November when the Raptors were trying, unsuccessfully, to get off to a good start to the season. Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry both had 20 in that one; Raptors are 15-18 all time at home against Boston but have won last two at the Air Canada Centre.
What happened this morning
How big a game is it?
The Celtics are eighth in the East, 7 1-2 games up on Toronto and what’s that pucks phrase:
It’s a four-pointer.
Dwane Casey was saying, correctly, that every game is a big game but some are bigger than others and this one has some extra significance.
It’s not a “must win” because every game is a “must win” in some regard but the first tiebreaker is head-to-head and the Celtics already lead the season series.
A much-anticipated return
Because they are overly-careful, the Raptors wouldn’t confirm what we already presume to be true: Andrea Bargnani will be back tonight after missing 26 games.
Toronto went 13-13 in that time – Bargnani was hurt Dec. 10 in Portland – and he’d been struggling offensively before, shooting just 40 per cent from the field and 32 per cent from three-point range.
But with Kyle Lowry the undisputed starting point guard now and Rudy Gay making his third Toronto appearance, Bargnani is coming back to an entirely different team.
Daily stat that probably means nothing, Part 1
Aaron Gray has 10 or more rebounds in four straight games, a career-best.
What’s up in Boston?
This is up, courtesy of Murph at the Herald suggests the veteran aren’t getting too caught up in the trade chatter.
Men in charge?
Not a Derek to be seen as Bennie Adams, Brent Barnaky and Pat Fraher will be tooting whistles and drawing derision this evening.
Daily stat that probably means nothing, Park 2
The Raptors have led at half in nine straight games, they have been out-scored in the second half of six of those games.