Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors: Match Preview and Predictions | NBA Christmas Day
Date & Time: Wednesday, 25th December 2019 (12:00 PM ET)
Venue: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Last Game Results
Boston Celtics (20-7): 119-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets (22nd December)
Toronto Raptors (21-9): 115-120 loss to the Indiana Pacers (23rd December)
Boston Celtics Preview
Since suffering back-to-back defeats to the Pacers and Sixers, the Celtics have bounced back with three consecutive wins. Victories over Dallas, Detroit, and Charlotte have helped the Celtics to increase their record for the season to 20-7, and Brad Stevens' team is well in the mix to finish second in the East behind the runaway Bucks.
Despite the absence of Gordon Hayward, Boston's defense has continued to improve, and only the Denver Nuggets are conceding fewer points per game (103.2). On the offensive end, the Celtics are also managing a respectable 111.2 points per contest, and they have also managed to win 8 of their 14 road games.
Key Player - Kemba Walker
With two months of the season now played, it is fair to say that Kemba Walker's offseason move to the Celtics has turned out to be a huge success. The 29-year-old enters the game averaging 22.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game - and the point guard will control Boston's offense as they look to pick up a win against their fellow Eastern Conference rivals.
Celtics Predicted Lineup:
Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker
Toronto Raptors Preview
Toronto pulled off a stunning 30-point comeback on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks to extend their winning streak to five games, although the Raptors' streak was ended on Monday night as they succumbed to an overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers. Poor three-point shooting by the Raptors proved to be the deciding factor, although it is worth noting that Nick Nurse's team is continuing to compete despite the absences of Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam.
Aside from a win over the Philadelphia 76ers back in November, the Raptors have struggled against the best teams in the NBA, and they lost their previous clash against Boston on the second night of the season. On the whole, the Raptors have performed better than expected this season, although Nick Nurse's team is in need of a statement win - and the game against the Celtics offers the perfect opportunity.
Key Player - Kyle Lowry
Following the departure of Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam has established himself as the face of the team, although Kyle Lowry has been excellent during the Cameroonian's absence. Lowry recorded a season-high 32 points during Toronto's thrilling comeback win over the Mavs, and the veteran will be eager to deliver another huge performance at Scotiabank Arena.
Raptors Predicted Lineup:
OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet
Celtics vs Raptors Match Prediction
Both teams enter the game in good form, and they could eventually meet in the 2020 playoffs. Boston won the previous matchup back in late-October, and while the Raptors have since improved, the Celtics should have enough quality to overcome a Toronto team that will be tired following back-to-back grueling games.
Where to Watch Celtics vs Raptors?
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN from 12:00 PM (ET). There will also be local coverage on SN1 and NBC Sports Boston. Additionally, you can live stream the game via NBA League Pass.
Published 24 Dec 2019, 22:30 IST