Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics

How do I not remember this series of events? What happened here?

Andrea Bargnani returns to the lineup when the Raptors host the Celtics at the ACC.

Start time: 7:00 PM ET

Channel: Sportsnet

Probable starting lineups

Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray

Boston: Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett

Injury report

Toronto: Landry Fields is out, while Linas Kleiza and Mickael Pietrus are questionable…or something

Boston: Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger are out

Random Thoughts:

  • The obvious headline coming into tonight’s game is the return of Andrea Bargnani. More on that here.
  • Aaron Gray has earned his minutes recently, but I can’t say I agree with starting him tonight. Just like Miami with Bosh, the Celtics play a small-ish lineup that sees Kevin Garnett man the five-spot, so I’m not confident Gray can keep up. The hope would have to be that Gray can exploit his size advantage on the glass and that his lack of quickness doesn’t cost the Raptors.
  • Considering the Raptors won both home games against the Celtics with a worse team last season and the fact that Rondo is out, this is certainly a winnable game for the Raps, but there’s no way Toronto should be looking past Boston. The Celts have won four in a row without Rondo by an average of nearly nine points per game, though if there is one thing that jumps out at me in the winning streak, it’s that Boston has yet to play a road game since Rajon was ruled out for the season.
  • Even with Gay in the fold, I maintain that the Raptors have dug themselves much too big of a hole (7.5 games behind Boston) to squeak into the playoffs, but suffice to say, if the team actually does still have post-season aspirations, tonight’s game is an absolute must-win. For Toronto to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, they probably have to finish the season 23-11 while beating the Celtics in all three remaining matchups.