header decal

News

31 Mar 2018

Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/31/18

The Raptors (55-20) enter this contest with a three-game lead over the Celtics (52-23) for both the Atlantic Division lead and the No. 1 spot in the East. Toronto, though, have split their last six games after winning 18 of the previous 19 and are coming off a 114-110 victory over Denver on Wednesday night.

DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, and Fred VanVleet each scored 15 points to lead seven players in double figures as the Raptors outscored the Nuggets 60-36 in the paint and matched an NBA single-game high this season with 16 blocked shots. 

Toronto have won ten of their last 12 on the road but are looking to avoid back-to-back defeats outside the Air Canada Centre for the first time since losing at Philadelphia and Minnesota on January 15 and 20.

Boston have made a late charge to make races out of the Atlantic and East by winning five straight. They capped a four-game road sweep of Western Conference opponents with a 97-94 victory at Utah on Thursday night on a 3-pointer by Jaylen Brown with 0.3 seconds left. All three of Brad Stevens' available guards, Brown, Terry Rozier, and Shane Larkin were key in the victory as they combined for 44 points and made eight of 15 from 3-point range.

The Celtics continue to be without All-Star Kyrie Irving and could be without Al Horford for a second straight game with a sprained ankle. Boston's frontcourt depth could be further tested if Marcus Morris is also sidelined for the third time in four games with an ankle sprain of his own.

Despite the depleted frontcourt, Boston have been connecting at a high rate from 3-point range of late, shooting 54.4 percent (48 for 90) in the last four games. Morris has made eight of ten in two games while sitting out two others while Brown has gone five of seven in the last three contests. Per basketball-reference.com, the Celtics are just the second team in NBA history to shoot 48 percent or better from beyond the arc in four straight games while attempting at least ten 3-pointers in each contest.