For Celtics fans, this game is important because a win would put them in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. For Raptors fans, this game is mostly important because we want to see that Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks aren’t on the bench so we can fully believe that yesterday’s announced trade with the Hornets is really going down. Hey, we’ve been burned on this stuff before.
The Raptors are on their first two-game winning streak of the season but that’s really not saying much when you consider the teams they beat and when you admit that winning two games in a row isn’t really a streak. The Celtics lost to the Thunder 89-84 on Friday and are probably going into this game pissed off and ready to administer a beatdown. To be honest, I’m pretty much assuming the Celtics are going to win this game and my main focus is on whether or not Ray Allen and Paul Pierce will combine for six three-pointers, causing me to lose in that category in my head-to-head fantasy matchup. Does that make me a bad Raptors fan? Actually, it probably does. Let’s move on.
Toronto: Leandro Barbosa, Reggie Evans and Andrea Bargnani are all probable with various injuries. Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks are doubtful because they’re probably no longer Raptors and hungover, to boot.
Boston: Rajon Rondo is questionable because of a strained left hamstring and it would be a shame if he started and Jose Calderon got embarrassed in his first start after the trade.
1. Will Jose Calderon be inspired by his new “vote of confidence” and play like the Calderon of two seasons ago?
2. Will Kevin Garnett render Andrea Bargnani virtually invisible like he did in their preseason matchup?
3. Will the Raptors try to play at a fast pace so they can take advantage of their superior athleticism?
4. Will Kevin Garnett try to act tough with Reggie Evans because Reggie called him a chihuahua earlier this month?
5. Will I start all five of these questions with the word “will” for the first time ever? Yes, I will.
Start time: 1:00 PM ET
Liveblog: James Borbath on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Boston: Nate Robinson, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal
Today’s pregame song is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Along with being a classic rock song (and don’t ask me how old it makes me feel that a song which was so seminal in my teenage life is now considered “classic”), its main guitar riff was stolen from “More Than a Feeling” by the super-classic rock band Boston. See what I did there?