Date & Time: Sunday, August 30th, 1 PM ET (10:30 PM IST)
Venue: The Field House, Orlando, FL
Both the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors come into this game on the back of sweeps in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The two franchises are divisional rivals and have already played each other four times, with Boston winning the regular-season series 3-1.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics have had the tougher match-up heading into this series and would like to believe that it's prepared them for possibly the best-coached team in the NBA Playoffs in Toronto Raptors. Boston's defensive vigor will be matched well but their ability to set quickly in transition will come in handy against the Raptors.
The trio of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kemba Walker will be relied upon for the majority of the offense yet again but size will continue to be a problem for Brad Stevens' men. They had their troubles on the board against the Philadelphia 76ers but now they're up against the best rebounding team in the NBA Playoffs so far.
Key Player - Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown will be guarding the likes of Pascal Siakam and Normal Powell in this series, both of whom have combined for 38 points per game in the postseason. The Celtics had a -24.2 rating per 100 possessions with him off the court against the Sixers in the first round. Additionally, he'll also be trusted to turn up with at least 20 points on every given night.
Celtics Predicted Lineup
Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis
Toronto Raptors Preview
The Toronto Raptors have taken little time to adjust to the NBA bubble and seem like the biggest threat in the East right now, even more so than the Milwaukee Bucks. They have enough ammunition in every department without even boasting of a proper superstar. The Boston Celtics did get the better of them in the regular season but there are a few areas that they can exploit against the Cs.
Firstly, their size advantage will surely play a part on the glass and inside the paint. Additionally, the Toronto Raptors have as many as eight players who can score in double digits on any given day. This will unsettle the Boston Celtics who'll have to sort out their defensive switches multiple times on the fly.
Key Player - Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka is averaging a whopping 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds off the bench for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Playoffs. He's got all the tools to punish the Boston Celtics from underneath the basket and he's also averaging two made threes a game. He'll come in handy as far as creating second-chances are concerned because of his ability to snag offensive boards.
Raptors Predicted Lineup
Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Celtics vs Raptors Match Prediction
The Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors are well-matched on paper. The Celtics have their big three but given how spread out Toronto's offense is, things more or less even out. The bench battle will be a huge factor though because Nick Nurse's second unit averaged a whopping 56.5 points per game in the first round of the NBA Playoffs while Boston's bench only managed 20.
The game was originally postponed in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake and all the players came together to chart out an action plan. Now that it's finally happening, expect the defending champs to edge out the Boston Celtics in a close affair.
Where to watch Celtics vs Raptors?
National telecast of this Eastern Conference Semifinals tie will take place on ESPN. Local coverage will be available via NBC Sports Boston and TSN. You can also live stream the game via the NBA League Pass.
Published 26 Aug 2020, 16:00 IST