As the teams battle in the Orlando bubble, there is a lot at stake. Boston took the first two games, and Toronto has come back strong with a pair of wins of their own. If OG Anunoby missed that shot to end Game 3, Toronto might have been swept. But now, it’s a whole new series between the teams.
The Celtics are missing Gordon Hayward right now, but you have to play with the guys you have available. This team works hard on both ends, but they cannot get all their stars to play well together. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown both struggled mightily in the last game, which cannot happen again.
And for Toronto, it’s all on the starters. They all play huge minutes, and so have extreme responsibility. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been out of the rotation, with Terence Davis also falling out.
Matt Thomas has taken his minutes, though there are not very many of them to go around. The top 5 guys and Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka will determine the game.
The Celtics are a one-point favorite. The over/under is set at 212.
Boston Looks to Regain Composure
After consecutive losses, Boston hopes to get their confidence back. This is a dangerous team, and one that Jeff Van Gundy recently said could win a title.
They have a fantastic core group of players, but they just don’t get enough scoring from the other guys. Marcus Smart hasn’t been the same since his game two performance in the fourth quarter.
Brown only made four baskets, though he did knock a few down in the fourth quarter. His impact on the defensive end still makes him valuable, but he will have to score today for his team to have a chance. It is unlikely that he will struggle again, knowing just what he is capable of.
Boston will also need strong center play.
Toronto Aims for First Series Lead
Things have not been too bad for them of late, coming up with a pair of tight wins. Kyle Lowry has not been subbed out in the second half of either game, which will likely be the story again.
Fred VanVleet will need to continue to perform at a high level as well. The two of them and Pascal all need to be locked in on both ends of the floor.
The three-point shot was falling for them in Game 4, which gave them the boost they have been missing. Ibaka was especially dangerous, making three after three as the game continued. When Marc Gasol fouled out, they had him as a great security blanket. He was ready to finish strong.
Can they win again to take a 3-2 lead in Game 5?
Toronto Strikes Again
They sure can! And they will. The Raptors will take the lead in the series after getting it done once again.
FREE PLAY: TOR +1
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