Boston Celtics (22-7) vs. Toronto Raptors (21-10)
NBA: Saturday, December 28th, 2019 (TD Garden)
Spread: Boston Celtics (-7) vs. Toronto Raptors (+7)
Free NBA Expert Pick: Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics are known for their tightly contested matchups over the past few seasons. While their first meeting of the 2019-20 season lived up to that hype, their second matchup on Christmas Day – riddled by injuries – was a larger margin in favour of the Celtics.
The Raptors had won an NBA-record 34 -consecutive games on their home court against opponents in their division. They had defeated the Celtics in Toronto in eight-consecutive trips up north with their last loss dating back to April of 2015.
The Celtics snapped both of those streaks on Christmas and have now taken a 2-0 regular season series lead over the Raptors.
Jaylen Brown was the star of the show on the holiday, going for a game-high 30 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field, dazzling Toronto’s defence with a variety of moves for impressive buckets.
The Raptors have had trouble containing the Celtics’ young forward as Brown went for 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Boston’s first meeting with Toronto earlier this season.
Without their leading scorer Pascal Siakam or key rotational guys like Marc Gasol and Norman Powell, the Raptors didn’t have enough juice to hang with Boston on Christmas. But there were two bright spots in the game – Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher.
VanVleet couldn’t get much of anything to fall since returning from his knee injury, shooting 16-for-49 (25.8%) from the field and 3-for-19 (18.2%) from beyond the arc in his first three games back. He busted out of that slump on the holiday, going for 27 points shooting 11-for-21 (52.4%) from the field and 2-for-5 (40.0%) from three.
With the injury bug taking over the team, the Raptors need all the scoring they can get and VanVleet finding his efficiency will only benefit the short-handed team.
It was also encouraging to see Boucher staying ready, providing valuable minutes off the bench. The 26-year-old has seen sporadic playing time this season but has always stepped up whenever head coach Nick Nurse calls on him. Boucher had 24 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes against the Celtics on Christmas and two games before that, went for 21 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in a win over the Mavericks.
He’s provided a scoring punch on the offensive end and brings great energy to the boards and the defensive end, giving Nurse a reliable X-factor in the Raptors time of need with so many rotational players out.
Toronto will still be without Pascal Siakam (groin) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) against the Celtics this time around, but Norman Powell’s availability remains unknown. Can the Raptors dig deep and come away with a hard-fought win over their rivals in Boston?
Cover The Spread 365 Trends:
Toronto are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto’s last 6 games.
Toronto are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games.
Toronto are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Boston.
Toronto are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against Boston.
Boston are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston’s last 7 games.
Boston are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston’s last 6 games against Toronto.
Boston are 13-1 SU in their last 14 games at home.
Free Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors NBA Prediction
Last time the two teams played was on Christmas day. The Boston Celtics won 118-102 to the Raptors. Jaylen Brown scored 30 points. Fred VenVleet had 27 points. I expect Toronto raptors to play fast with the return Kyle Lowry but at the end. Kemba Walker will win this game by 7 points.