Game Preview: Raptors vs. Celtics
Boston Celtics (39-15) @ Toronto Raptors (36-16)
When: Tuesday, February 6th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN1/4, SN590
The Raptors last saw the Celtics in November, dropping a 95-94 decision in Boston. Though the Celtics were without Kyrie Irving they were able to withstand Toronto's best shot, winning when DeMar DeRozan's potential game-winning jumper didn't connect with two seconds on the clock. The game was close throughout, tied after the first quarter, with the Celtics holding one-point lead heading into the fourth. Boston was led by Al Horford's 21 points (8-for-9 field goals), and Jaylen Brown's 18 points. DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points while Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven assists in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Toronto's injury report is clear, with C.J. Miles making his return to the court on Sunday against the Grizzlies after missing three games with a sore knee. The Celtics will be without Shane Larkin (knee) and Marcus Smart (hand), with neither making the trip to Toronto.
Number one spot: Tuesday's game will feature the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. At 36-16, the Raptors are 2.0 games behind Boston for the best record in the East and the Atlantic Division lead. Boston comes to Toronto to face a Raptors team with the best home record in the NBA this season at 21-4 on the Air Canada Centre floor.
Early wins: Toronto is fresh off a 101-86 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies that came in a Sunday matinee at the Air Canada Centre. The Celtics come to Toronto following a thrilling 97-96 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Boston won the game thanks to a fadeaway jumper from Al Horford at the buzzer.
Bench mob: The Raptors bench was on its best behaviour against the Grizzlies on Sunday. Toronto's reserves outscored the Memphis bench 52-19 in the win, with Delon Wright leading the way. Wright scored 15 points, Fred VanVleet had 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, Pascal Siakam had 10 points and Jakob Poeltl added nine points as Dwane Casey went with his reserves the entire fourth quarter.
The Wright time: Delon Wright had 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals in 25 minutes against the Grizzlies. He shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line, but the most impressive stat of his afternoon: Toronto was a +36 when Wright was on the floor.
Mighty JV: Another game, another game-high for Jonas Valanciunas. After opening the game with a dunk, then following it up with a three-pointer shortly after that, Valanciunas finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in 24 minutes on Sunday. He is averaging 12.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game this season and averaged 13.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game in January while shooting 61 percent from the floor.