Game Preview: Raptors vs. Celtics
Boston Celtics(53-24) @ Toronto Raptors (55-22)
When: Wednesday, April 4, 8:00 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN4/5, TSN1050
This will be Toronto's second meeting with the Celtics in four days, coming after the Raptors dropped a 110-99 decision on the road this past Saturday. Though the first three quarters were close, with the Raptors holding a two-point lead entering the fourth, things fell apart for Toronto in the final 12 minutes. The Celtics won the fourth quarter scoring battle 28-15, and also forced Toronto into seven turnovers as they used a late 10-0 run to take a 104-94 lead with 3:27 to go and went on to the win from there. The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan's 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss. Marcus Morris had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, while Jayson Tatum added 24 points.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For the Raptors, the injury report is clear. For the Celtics, Gordon Hayward (left ankle rehab), Kyrie Irving (left knee surgery), Marcus Smart (right thumb surgery) and Daniel Theis (left knee surgery) will be out. The Celtics played in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, with Shane Larkin missing the game with an illness and Terry Rozier III missing the game with a left ankle sprain.
Two straight: The Raptors come into Wednesday's game having dropped two straight for the first time since Jan. 17. Toronto's two-game skid comes courtesy of the Celtics on Saturday and Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Raptors have not lost three consecutive games this season.
Two back: Despite Tuesday's loss to the Cavaliers, the Raptors still remain two games ahead of the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference. Boston had a chance the narrow the gap when they took on the Bucks in Milwaukee on Tuesday, but they also lost, dropping a 106-102 decision on the road.
Sophomore strong: Celtics second-year man Jaylen Brown comes to Toronto after a fantastic effort against the Bucks on Tuesday. Brown led the Celtics offensively, scoring 24 points to go with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 36 minutes. He shot 9-for-15 from the floor. On the season, Brown is averaging 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Big men: On a night where Toronto's shooters were off the mark, Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka combined for 36 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Raptors in Tuesday's loss to the Cavaliers. Valanciunas shot 7-for-13 from the floor, while Ibaka finished 8-for-15 from the floor and 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.
One away: The Raptors remain one win away from tying the single-season franchise-record of 56 wins a in a season. The record was set during 2015-16, the first season the team topped 50 wins. Toronto has now topped 50 wins in each of the last three seasons. After Wednesday's back-to-back, the team will remain home for two more games, before finishing out the regular season on the road.