Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Depth to be Tested vs. Loaded Raps Squad
Tuesday, Feb. 6- Celtics at Raptors
Pregame – C’s Depth to be Tested vs. Loaded Raps Squad
TORONTO – From the top of the starting rotation, to the back of the bench, the Toronto Raptors have one of the most well-rounded teams in the NBA. For that reason, the Boston Celtics must play as complete of a game as they possibly can Tuesday night, if they plan to walk out of Air Canada Centre with a rare win.
“These guys have a special team,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of the Raptors ahead of the 7:30 p.m. tip-off. “They’ve been building that for a long time and we’ve got a great deal of respect for them. Their starting lineup and their stars are well documented, and their second unit may be the most fun group to watch in the whole league. It’s pretty special what they’re doing and we know we have to play well on both ends in order to have a chance to win.”
Not many teams have been able to pull off a win this season at Air Canada Centre. In fact, the Raptors have lost the fewest home games in the league, with a impressive mark of 21-4 in their own arena.
With that being said, the first-place Celtics believe that if they bring their typical defensive intensity, then they’ll have a good chance to extend their two-game lead over the second-place Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We’ll have our hands full,” said Celtics big man Al Horford. “It’s going to be one of those games where we have to be very disciplined on the defensive end because (DeMar) DeRozan makes you pay, Kyle Lowry has that ability as well. So we just have to be locked in defensively, and that will give us our best chance to win the game.”
The returns of Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris should improve Boston’s chances to win. Irving missed the previous three games with a bruised quad and Morris missed the last two contests with a bruised hip, but they’ll be good to go tonight in Toronto.
Their returns will strengthen Boston’s depth, which could be critical against Toronto’s strong second unit that is averaging nearly 40 points per game.
“We know that their second unit is as good as any team’s in the league,” said Terry Rozier, who will return to the bench after starting the last three games in Irving’s starting point guard role. “They push the lead out for the starters, so every guy that gets in tonight for us has to be disciplined, has to pay attention to details and has to be ready to play, because those guys come out aggressive – first unit and second unit – and it’s going to be a hard battle. But this is what we like. You’ve got two top teams in the East, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
- Taylor Snow