The Boston Celtics have not gotten off to a good start in the second half of the season. Boston has lost their first two games since the All-Star break, and things won’t get any easier with a trip to Toronto on Tuesday night. The Raptors also had a stunning loss in their last game against the Magic, but Toronto had won seven straight games prior to that loss.
The Celtics have slipped into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, and are in third place in the Atlantic Division. Boston brings a 37-23 record into this game, but they were supposed to be better than that. The Raptors are trying to catch the Milwaukee Bucks atop the Eastern Conference. Toronto comes into this game with a 44-17 record and lead the Atlantic Division. The Raptors are -5.0 over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
Leonard Leading Raptors Offense
Kawhi Leonard continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and he is having a monster season in leading the Raptors on offense. Leonard is pouring in close to 27 points per game this season, and has hit a ton of huge shots to lead the Raptors. Toronto is averaging 114.1 points per game this season, and they have plenty of other scoring options. Look for Kawhi to have another monster game against the Celtics.
Point guard Kyle Lowry is also having a terrific season, even without his buddy DeMar DeRozan. Lowry is dishing out more than nine assists per game this season, and isn’t afraid to take a big shot as well. The Raptors have eight different players averaging double-figures on offense this season, and their bench is loaded with talent. There is a reason that Toronto leads the Atlantic Division.
Chemistry An Issue in Boston
Something just doesn’t look right with the Celtics, and team chemistry appears to be a real issue. Kyrie Irving is the lead dog in Boston, but he is taking away the spotlight from a handful of future stars. Irving leads the team with 23.8 points and 6.8 assists per game, but he has taken the ball out of the hands of several other star players. Jayson Tatum led the team a season ago, but is averaging just 16.4 points per game this season.
The Celtics are still one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowing just 106.8 points per game. Boston was a mess on defense on Saturday night though, allowing 126 points to a bad Bulls squad. The Celtics lost their only other game in Toronto this season, allowing 113 points in a 12 point loss.
Celtics Drop Third Straight Game
The road to the NBA Finals might still go through Boston, but not if the Celtics don’t figure things out soon. Boston might have too many talented players, and they can’t figure out who is supposed to be their leader. The Raptors have an obvious leader in Kawhi Leonard, and he has Toronto playing well on both ends of the floor. Take the Toronto Raptors -5.0 over the Boston Celtics in this game.