Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: TD Garden in Boston, MA

When: Wednesday, January 16th, at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, TSN, RDS2 (FR), and NBC Sports Boston | TSN Radio 1050 Toronto, WROR (105.7 FM)

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 33-12 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors are back in the drivers seat for the NBA. With a record of 33-12 the Raptors are first in the NBA, Eastern Conference, and 1.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks who are second in the East.

After leading by as many as 23 points against the Washington Wizards, the Toronto Raptors were pushed to the limit as they overcame their Eastern Conference rivals in a double-overtime thriller.

In his post-game interview Kawhi Leonard was quoted, “Games like this are going to help us in the playoffs. Trying to execute when you need a bucket or a stop, it’ll only help you”. That mindset will be needed when the Raptors take on the struggling, but always dangerous Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics (Home)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 246-206 | BOS}

The Boston Celtics had found a rhythm of late, on a four-game win streak before losing their first two of a three-game road trip. At 25-17, the Boston Celtics sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.

It’s been a year of controversy for the Boston Celtics. Expectations were high yet they’ve regularly failed to succeed. They are still in the playoff race, but not in the top four position they’d like to be in. On top of that, leading man Kyrie Irving has voiced frustration with his teams lack of championship winning mentality.

Regardless of controversy though, the Boston Celtics are still a very capable basketball team. Loaded with offensive and defensive talent, the Celtics can beat any team with any number of play styles. They will hope they can hold on in the clutch should they be in that situation against the incredibly formidable Toronto Raptors.

What’s At Stake?

The Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics have competed against each other a number of times as Atlantic Division rivals. In the all-time series, the Boston Celtics lead the Toronto Raptors 53-38.

A win for the Raptors would only solidify their lead in the Eastern Conference and the NBA, placing them 2.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.

A win for the Boston Celtics would keep them in place at fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Questions to answer

Can the Raptors maintain defensively?

Can the Boston Celtics execute late?

We are going to compare the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Raptors gave up a 23-point lead over the Wizards

Despite coming out with a win, the Raptors held a massive lead over the Wizards which they subsequently gave up in regulation time. Considering overtime was decided by a mere two points, the Toronto Raptors will need to zone in defensively if they want to defeat the Celtics.

The match against the Wizards was given up in the fourth quarter, where the Raptors allowed the Wizards to score 40 points to their 26. Considering the wealth of offensive talent that the Celtics have, the Raptors can’t afford such a substantial defensive lapse.

The Celtics have failed to execute late, much to the public dismay of star point guard Kyrie Irving. But if the match turns into an offensive showcase it’s difficult to bet against the Celtics’ wealth of available options. The Raptors are stout defensively but will need offensive contributions from the bench to maintain their form.

It’s been a mess of late for the Celtics

The Boston Celtics had seemed to have found their rhythm before they started their three-game road trip. After being blown out by the Heat then failing to execute against the Magic, the Celtics are searching for answers before they take on the Raptors.

Irving is disappointed with his squad. He was spoke to the media and said:

“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”

In his short career Irving will need to take on the role of mentor. After being sidekick to a championship winning squad, he is now trying to lead a young group of talents to a championship. While they still have steps to take, Irving’s harsh criticism is sure to spark the attitudes of the young Celtics.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F CJ Miles – Day To Day (Undisclosed) – Miles was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s (Jan. 13) game against the Wizards.

C Jonas Valanciunas – Out (Thumb) – Head coach Nick Nurse said Valanciunas will miss at least another 4 weeks.

G Fred Vanvleet – Day To Day (Hip contusion) – VanVleet was listed as questionable for Sunday’s (Jan. 13) game against the Wizards.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

C Aron Baynes – Out (Hand) – Baynes could be cleared to play by early next week according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

G Jabari Bird – Out (Personal) – Bird is still on a leave of absence from the team until he handles his legal issues.

Head-to-Head: Kyle Lowry vs Kyrie Irving

Kyle Lowry

Point Guard | 6-1, 196lb (185cm, 88kg) | Villanova | Exp. 12 Years

14.1 PPG | 9.6 APG | 4.3 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .431 FG% | .326 3P%

Kyrie Irving

Point Guard | 6-3, 193lb (190cm, 87kg) | Duke | Exp. 7 Years/

22.7 PPG | 6.4 APG | 4.8 RPG | 1.6 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.5 TOV | .489 FG% | .397 3P%

It’s a matchup between two of the NBA’s all-star talents at point guard, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry meet again. An offence-defence matchup between two stylistically different point guards who are undoubtedly the leaders of their respective team.

After missing eleven games with a back injury, Kyle Lowry has returned to the Raptors and shown flashes of his early season brilliance. He’s still one of the NBA’s premier playmakers and despite his decreased shooting percentage from range, he remains a deadly threat from beyond the arc. It will be his defence however that will define the game for him as he continues to be the Raptors’ anchor on that side of the ball.

Despite his recent frustrations, Kyrie Irving has little to do with his teams lack of success. He is having another tremendous season after a shortened season and is leading his team as usual. His scoring is down, but his playmaking has improved to the benefit of his team. Irving will be key to the Celtics success as he is both primary scorer and distributor for Boston.

Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Toronto Raptors by 1, with an over/under of 109.