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Preview: Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics – March 4, 2021

Photo credit: Ashley Landis/Associated Press

After a frustrating loss to Detroit last night, the Raptors finish the first half of their season with a matchup tonight in Boston against the Celtics.

Toronto will certainly be looking forward to the all-star break after a hectic week involving the postponement of two of their games. The Raptors played last night without Nick Nurse and much of their coaching staff. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, among others were also sidelined due to health and safety protocols.

Expect a similar shorthanded roster tonight, as the Raptors continue to battle Covid-19, while taking on the Celtics for the third time this season.

The Celtics won the previous two matchups and have won three in a row, including a victory over the Clippers on Tuesday night. While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown provide much of the scoring for the Celtics (both averaging over 24 points a game), Kemba Walker has provided a spark recently for Boston, scoring over 20 in four straight games.

After allowing 56 bench points to the Pistons last night, the Raptors will need to look out for Boston’s role players. Semi Ojeleye had a career high 24 points last month against them, while Payton Pritchard’s two 20 point games this season have both come against the Raptors.

If many of the Raptors starters remain out, expect to see more of Yuta Watanabe, who started last night, as well as Matt Thomas and possibly Jalen Harris, who was recently called up from the 905. Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell will be leaned on heavily again, with Powell coming off of a season high 36 points last night.

In a packed Eastern Conference, the Celtics sit fourth at 18-17, while the Raptors are right behind them at 17-18, looking to even the records tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00PM EST on TSN.

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