The Celtics have won a NBA-record 16 Championships, including a record eight straight titles from 1959-66. Those days seemed to be far behind the Celtics at the end of last season, as the team posted a 24-58 record and failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year. However, during the summer the Celtics made two blockbuster trades and added All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (17 All-Star appearances between them). In many pundits’ eyes the team has now suddenly been propelled into what used to be familiar territory: Eastern Conference favorites to make the NBA Finals.
The Toronto Raptors are coming off a watershed season. They won the Atlantic Division for the first time in their history and in the process became the first Canadian team to win a division in the NBA. Their 47-35 record equaled their best record ever and secured home court advantage for the first time in the playoffs. The team features a very distinctive European flavor, with many players on the roster who have starred in the Euroleague before coming to the NBA. The Raptors are hoping to build on last season’s success and this game against the star-laden Celtics could well prove a game between the two teams who will struggle for supremacy in the NBA’s Atlantic Division next season.