Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
Records: Raptors (1-0), Celtics (0-1)
Where to Watch
Date: Oct. 25
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN 4
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
The Atlantic Division rivals meet for the first of four times this season when the defending champion Toronto Raptors travel to TD Garden to take on the Boston Celtics.
This game will look much different than meetings of year's past as both Boston and Toronto saw their respective scoring leaders depart this offseason via free agency. With changes abound, it's All-Star guard Kemba Walker that serves as the face of the Celtics while 2019 Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam has assumed that role for the Raptors this season.
Toronto is coming off of a thrilling overtime win over the New Orleans Pelicans on opening night behind the play of Siakam and fourth-year guard Fred VanVleet, who both finished the game with 34 points apiece; Siakam also grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds while VanVleet dished out a team-high seven assists.
Siakam's performance is something to keep an eye on, as last season he averaged just 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in four meetings with the Celtics last year, but the differences from game-to-game were quite drastic:
|1||Oct. 19, 2018||4 PTS (2-6 FG), 5 REB, 2 AST||W (113-101)|
|2||Nov. 16, 2018||16 PTS (6-11 FG), 9 REB, 4 AST||L (116-123)|
|3||Jan. 16, 2019||6 PTS (3-6 FG), 7 AST, 4 REB||L (108-117)|
|4||Feb. 26, 2019||25 PTS (10-16 FG), 8 REB, 2 AST||W (118-95)|
It's highly unlikely that Siakam ever takes as few as six field-goal attempts ever again but it's difficult to gauge what type of performance to expect from him as the man against the Celtics this season based off of last year's results.
Ideally for Toronto, he builds off of his opening night performance and continues to embrace the role of a No. 1 option.
Boston, on the other hand, will be leaning on Walker, who posted impressive averages of 23.3 points, 8.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds against the Raptors in three games as a member of the Hornets last season. Unlike Siakam, Boston's All-Star guard is looking to bounce back from a rough opening-night performance.
Thanks to Philly's stifling defence, Walker failed to get going on Wednesday, scoring just 12 points (on 4-for-18 shooting) and dishing out two assists in 34 minutes of action as his team suffered a 14-point loss.
It was Gordon Hayward that stepped up in a big way for the C's in the opener, scoring a team-high 25 points (on 8-for-15 shooting) while Jayson Tatum finished with 21 points (on 8-for-22 shooting) and a team-high 10 boards.
Boston shot just 36.7% from the field on the night and got punished on the boards, as they were outrebounded 62-41 in the game.
It's early in the year, but the Celtics will look to avoid falling to 0-2 to divisional foes in the year. With Boston and Toronto projected to finish in the same vicinity in the East's playoff picture this season, divisional records could carry even more weight than they have in years past.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (left groin soreness) - Questionable
Patrick McCaw (left knee soreness) - Doubtful
Tacko Fall (concussion protocol) - Out
Enes Kanter (left knee contusion) - Out
Romeo Langford (sore right knee) - Out
- The two teams split the season series in 2018-19 with the home team winning each of the four games.
- Toronto's last win at TD Garden came on Dec. 9, 2016 - the Raptors have since lost five straight road games in Boston.
- Serge Ibaka averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game against the Celtics in 2018-19
- Jayson Tatum posted averages of 16.0 points and 8.3 rebounds over four games against the Raptors last season
- After facing Boston Friday, the Raptors travel to play the Bulls on Saturday - is the first of 13 back-to-backs for Toronto this season.
Last Time They Played
Date: Feb. 26, 2019
Score: Raptors 118, Celtics 95
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Celtics: Marcus Morris - 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist