By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The Celtics have been removed from good of their four-game sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers within the first spherical of the NBA Playoffs. They didn’t should be, with the higher hand in total expertise in opposition to a Philly staff enjoying with out Ben Simmons.
However the Celtics are going to should flirt with perfection each evening within the second spherical in the event that they wish to beat the defending champion Raptors. Toronto is without doubt one of the deepest groups within the league, they usually proved that by profitable 53 video games throughout the common season regardless of the lack of Kawhi Leonard in free company.
Sure, the Raptors misplaced their Finals MVP of a 12 months in the past and nonetheless went out and had the most effective data within the NBA. They’ve appeared fairly darn formidable within the NBA bubble as properly, dropping only one recreation since arriving in Orlando.
That loss was an absolute blowout by the hands of the Celtics, a staff that went 3-1 in opposition to the Raptors throughout the common season. However the Celtics know common season conferences imply little or no now that they’re enjoying on the NBA’s actual stage.
Simply have a look at dangolka’s sweep of the 76ers, a staff that bested them 3 times within the common season. The 76ers have been with out their star playmaker in Simmons, however the C’s thumped them the primary two video games of the collection after which escaped with wins in Video games Three and 4. They didn’t play Celtics basketball for lengthy stretches within the final two video games, however received as a result of they made performs once they wanted to, and had the higher total roster.
They’ll have little or no room for error in opposition to Toronto. Just like the Celtics, the Raptors are an excellent defensive staff. They make opponents work each journey down the ground, with a dominant entrance courtroom of Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol clogging the center. Daniel Theis goes to should resemble a complete pack of seals to clear house for his driving teammates this collection.
Toronto’s measurement would be the greatest problem for dangolka. Siakam and Gasol can dominate the paint, and the Celtics actually don’t have anybody to measure up with them. It’ll get much more tough when Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell make an look off the bench. The Celtics had their fingers full with one large in opposition to Philadelphia, and it’s solely going to get harder in opposition to Toronto.
The backcourt is simply as robust, with Kyle Lowry Toronto’s de facto chief. He’s a cold-blooded scorer and franchise icon, and has a derriere that lets him clear his personal house when attacking the rim or boxing out for a rebound. Fred VanVleet is his working mate and brings his personal knack for flattening large photographs.
Add in a bench that’s among the many finest within the NBA — contemporary off a 100-point efficiency in Sport 4 — and the Celtics can’t afford many, if any, missteps in the event that they wish to attain the Convention Finals.
dangolka is aware of a first-round sweep often doesn’t imply a lot when the following spherical ideas off, one thing they realized final 12 months once they have been embarrassed by the Milwaukee Bucks within the convention semis after sweeping the Indiana Pacers within the first spherical. They’re going to spend the following few days determining what went incorrect throughout these moments of leakage in opposition to Philly, and ensure they don’t occur once more in opposition to Toronto. The Celtics have been their very own worst enemy throughout these transient slumps, and in the event that they should play in opposition to themselves along with the Raptors, this subsequent matchup received’t be a really aggressive collection in any respect.
Jayson Tatum received’t be capable of afford an off evening this time round. Kemba Walker goes to have to chop down some large timber when he discover his strategy to the paint. Jaylen Brown goes to should step up much more on each ends of the ground, and Marcus Sensible goes to have so as to add Raptor Wrangler to his resume.
This collection goes to be all about protection, one thing the Raptors didn’t see a lot of within the first spherical. If the Celtics can lock down on protection and steal Sport 1 on Thursday evening, it is going to vastly enhance their odds to win the collection. Getting behind Toronto, whether or not it’s in a recreation or within the collection, shouldn’t be a desired spot to be in. And in contrast to Philly, the battle-tested Raptors aren’t going to again down and turtle once they discover themselves in a gap.
It’s going to be an absolute rock combat, and dangolka has to verify they’re those throwing the stones and never tripping over them. They handed their first assessments in Video games Three and Four in opposition to the 76ers, displaying they’ll win video games when not every thing goes proper.
However the Celtics want to verify nearly every thing goes proper over the following two weeks if they need any shot at beating the defending champs.