Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Aug. 7
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN (Canada), TNT (USA)
Location: The Arena, Orlando, FL
The fight for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference turned out to be short-lived.
Entering Friday's game, the Raptors hold a 4.5 game lead on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. With a win against the Celtics, the Raptors will clinch the Atlantic Division and secure the second-best record in the Eastern Conference for the second season in a row.
While the No. 2 seed is all but out of reach for the Celtics, this could very well turn out to be a playoff preview. Assuming the Raptors and Celtics do finish second and third, respectively, they would meet each other in the second round of the playoffs should both teams take care of business in the first round.
The Raptors and Celtics have had several battles already this season. The first came early in the season, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown powering the Celtics to victory. The Celtics then dismantled the Raptors on Christmas Day, although Toronto was without Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam in the loss. The Raptors got revenge a few days later, blowing the Celtics out by 16 points despite still not having Gasol and Siakam.
Lowry led the way in Toronto's one and only win against Boston this season with 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Wizardry from our 5-time All-Star- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 29, 2019
Vote KLow 👉🏽 https://t.co/kQYeprYRUk pic.twitter.com/Uw54piSUSj
This will be the first time since that early-season meeting that both teams are expected to be at full strength. What remains to be seen is if the Raptors and Celtics will treat it as another game or if they will hold back knowing they could face each other in the playoffs.
Either way, the head-to-head matchup between Jayson Tatum and Pascal Siakam will take centre stage. Our NBA.com Staff have gone back and forth on which one is better all season long. We had Tatum ahead of Siakam in our latest player rankings but had Siakam ahead of Tatum shortly before the season was suspended.
This game might not answer the question of which player is ultimately better, but it will provide another opportunity to watch two of the league's rising stars do battle.
An injury report will be made available closer to tip.
- Entering Friday's game, the Celtics rank third on offence (112.9) and fifth on defence (106.7) on the season.
- The Raptors rank 12th on offence (111.0) and second on defence (104.5).
- Tatum and Siakam are posting eerily similar numbers this season. Whereas Tatum is averaging 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, Siakam is averaging 23.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
- The Celtics are one of the more balanced teams in the league. While Tatum leads the way with 23.3 points per game, Kemba Walker (20.8), Jaylen Brown (20.6), Gordon Hayward (17.3) and Marcus Smart (13.2) are each scoring in double figures.
- Brown has had a couple of big games for the Celtics in Orlando, going for 30 points in their win against the Portland Trail Blazers and 21 points in 23 minutes in their win over the Brooklyn Nets.
- Kyle Lowry has drawn the most charges in the league this season, but Walker ranks seventh with 18 charges drawn.
- Fred VanVleet has taken his game to another level in Orlando. Through three games, he's averaging 23.3 points, 8.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 28, 2019
Score: Toronto Raptors 113, Boston Celtics 97
Raptors: Kyle Lowry - 30 PTS, 7 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL
Celtics: Kemba Walker - 30 PTS, 2 AST, 2 REB, 2 STL
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