The Toronto Raptors were able to snap their 3-game losing streak against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Courtesy of a new starting lineup, inserting Gary Trent Jr. and bringing Dennis Schroder from off the bench. This made Scottie Barnes the defacto point guard and it worked well.
However, it happened against a bad Wizards team. Now a challenge arises against the 24-6 Boston Celtics who are on the second night of a back-to-back.
This is the third meeting between these two teams with Boston winning the first two meetings. The Raptors got blown out 117-94 back in Boston on Nov. 11 and lost by 3 in Toronto on Nov. 17.
For a Raptors team looking to turn things around, picking up a win of this magnitude would be tremendous. The Celtics who are coming off a nail-biting overtime win against the Detroit Pistons, may not be at full strength.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Jrue Holiday are all questionable heading into Friday’s game. Kristaps Porzingis is doubtful due to injury management and Al Horford is out.
Christian Koloko is the only player on the Raptors’ injury report, as he remains out with a respiratory condition that has kept him out up to this point.
While Toronto would like to beat the Celtics at full strength, they simply have to win games however they can. With this new starting five, Barnes is going to have to set the tone.
The Raptors previous starters struggled offensively against Boston in the previous two meetings, so they will have carry that offensive production from Wednesday to today.
Barnes is going to have to remain aggressive and get his offensive going, while having O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam rolling as well.
Barnes has averaged 12 points on 32.1% from the field and 26.7% from three against the Celtics this season. He’s going to have to score efficiently today, if the Raptors want to have a chance to win.
Toronto Raptors (12-18) vs. Boston Celtics (24-6)
7:30 p.m. ET, Friday, December 29, 2023
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Projected Raptors Starting Lineup:
PG: Scottie Barnes
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Jakob Poeltl
Key Reserves: Dennis Schroder, Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn
Projected Celtics Starting Lineup:
PG: Derrick White
SG: Jrue Holiday
SF: Sam Hauser
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Neemias Queta
Key Reserves: Oshae Brissett, Payton Pritchard, Lamar Stevens
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