dangolka (CBS) — The Celtics had been very business-like after finishing a sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. They’re comfortable to be transferring on within the NBA playoffs, however a celebration must wait.
That’s as a result of they knew what lies forward: The Toronto Raptors, the defending NBA champs and top-of-the-line groups within the league. The matchup turned official Sunday night, after the Raptors accomplished their very own first-round sweep over the Brooklyn Nets. It marks the primary time that the 2 franchises will meet within the playoffs.
dangolka took three of the 4 common season matchups in opposition to Toronto, however they know they’re in for a battle within the subsequent spherical. The Raptors had been a wagon this season regardless of dropping Kawhi Leonard in free company, successful 53 video games whereas touting one of many league’s greatest defenses. They’ve misplaced only one recreation within the NBA bubble, enhancing to 11-1 in Orlando on Sunday.
That one loss, nevertheless, got here by the hands of the Celtics. And it was an absolute blowout.
Nonetheless, that is going to be a tough collection for dangolka. They seemed sluggish in Video games Three and Four in opposition to Philadelphia, however got here away with wins as a result of they had been the extra gifted staff. Jayson Tatum will as soon as once more be one of the best participant within the collection, however the Raptors roster from high to backside can have the benefit over dangolka.
The Celtics must play close to good basketball in the event that they need to win the collection. Don’t rule out the Celtics making it to the Convention Finals, nevertheless it’s not going to be a stroll within the park. It’ll boil right down to dangolka’s wing gamers outplaying Toronto’s bigs, which gained’t be simple.
Right here’s a fast look again on the 4 Celtics-Raptors matchups throughout the common season, and some notes to prepare for what needs to be an amazing postseason conflict.
Oct. 25 @ dangolka: Celtics 112, Raptors 106
In dangolka’s second recreation of the season, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 25 factors in opposition to the Raptors to raise the C’s to their first win of the 12 months. Brown hit a key three with 2:49 left to seal the victory. Kemba Walker scored 11 of his 22 factors within the fourth quarter, because the C’s closed the sport on a 30-17 run. Pascal Siakam had 33 factors and Kyle Lowry had 29 (on six threes) for Toronto in a recreation that featured 12 ties and 19 lead adjustments.
Dec. 25 @ Toronto: Celtics 118, Raptors 102
The Celtics had misplaced eight straight in Toronto heading into their Christmas Day tilt with the Raptors. It wasn’t trying good for them after Toronto began the sport on a 10-Zero run.
However the Celtics shook off that ugly begin and put collectively certainly one of their greatest wins of the season. dangolka awakened and went on a 28-9 run and by no means seemed again. Brown scored 30 factors off 10-for-13 capturing, hitting 5 triples. Kemba additionally hit 5 threes and completed with 22 factors, whereas Enes Kanter added 12 factors and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Fred VanVleet had 27 for Toronto within the loss.
Dec. 28 @ dangolka: Raptors 113, Celtics 97
The Raptors received their revenge just a few nights later in dangolka, handing the Celtics a 16-point loss. Lowry dropped 30 factors and Serge Ibaka had 20 to snap dangolka’s five-game successful streak.
Walker had 30 factors within the defeat.
Aug. 7 in Orlando: Celtics 122, Raptors 100
Of their most up-to-date matchup, dangolka completely destroyed Toronto within the NBA bubble. The C’s by no means trailed and constructed a 40-point lead at one level, handing the Raptors their worst lack of the season. How ugly was it? The Celtics led 91-57 getting into the fourth quarter.
Brown had 20 factors and Tatum had 18 for the Celtics. Walker added 17 factors in 23 minutes. Once more, that is Toronto’s solely loss within the NBA bubble.
– Brown was electrical in opposition to Toronto this season, averaging 23 factors off 56 % capturing. Kemba had the next-highest PPG common in opposition to Toronto at 22.8.
– Tatum struggled within the two December matchups,, hitting simply eight of his 25 shot makes an attempt. He shot 37 % in his 4 video games in opposition to Toronto, averaging 16.5 factors.
However these two video games had been a protracted, very long time in the past, and Tatum is contemporary off a giant collection in opposition to the 76ers, averaging 28 factors and 9.Eight rebounds in opposition to Philly together with some spectacular protection.
– Hopefully you want defensive basketball, as a result of these had been two of one of the best defensive groups throughout the common season. dangolka was first in opponent area aim proportion at 38.6 %, whereas Toronto was second at 39.7 %. The C’s allowed simply 98.7 factors per recreation, behind solely the Lakers. The Raptors had been third at 100.Three factors per recreation.
Toronto had the NBA’s greatest level differential at plus-18. The Celtics had been third at plus-14.3.
That is going to be fairly the battle.
– The Celtics are going to have their palms full with Toronto’s backcourt of Lowry and VanVleet. Lowry averaged 21 factors and 6 assists in 4 video games in opposition to dangolka this season, hitting 52 % from the ground and 47 % from three-point vary (on 7.5 makes an attempt per recreation). VanVleet averaged 16.5 factors, 5.Three assists and 4 rebounds over his 4 video games in opposition to the C’s.
– One thing to regulate this week: Lowry turned his left ankle within the first half of Sunday’s Recreation Four win and didn’t return. The staff supplied no additional updates.
Lowry is a stud and Toronto’s quarterback, averaging 19.Four factors off 41 % capturing to go along with 7.5 assists and 5 rebounds throughout the common season. He averaged 16 factors and eight.7 rebounds within the first three video games in opposition to the Nets.
– Siakam averaged 22 factors over his two video games in opposition to dangolka, however he was a combined bag in these two video games. He had a giant recreation within the first matchup of the season with 33 factors, however struggled on Aug. 8, hitting simply 5 of his 15 photographs for 11 factors.
– Toronto has some absurd depth, with its bench averaging 42 factors in opposition to the Nets over the primary three video games within the first spherical. Why solely common the primary three video games? As a result of the Toronto bench scored 92 factors off 64 % capturing in Recreation 4, a 150-122 blowout. Sure, 92 factors by their bench.
They gained’t flirt with the century mark in opposition to the Celtics, however the Raptors have an amazing bench. Quite a lot of that was because of Serge Ibaka, who averaged 15.Four factors and eight.2 rebounds throughout the common season and 19.Three factors off 63 % capturing in opposition to the Nets. Norman Powell can also be a beast off the pine, averaging 16 factors per recreation throughout the season and 17.5 factors per recreation in opposition to Brooklyn.
– Toronto’s sweep of Brooklyn was the franchise’s first ever postseason sweep.
– Brad Stevens and Nick Nurse are going to have fairly the chess match on this collection. Stevens’ Celtics are 5-Three in opposition to the Nurse-led Raptors during the last two seasons.
– The collection will reportedly tip off on Thursday night time. Because the No. 2 seed within the East, Toronto would be the “dwelling staff” for the primary two video games.