The Toronto Raptors come to Boston for the second time this season – their third matchup overall against the Celtics. In January, the Celtics snapped a nine-game losing streak with an 88-83 victory. The Celtics opened the season back in October with a visit to Toronto and lost, 93-87.
On Friday, the Celtics will head to the Air Canada Centre for another matchup against the Raptors, their first of a pair of two-game series. On Sunday, the Celtics will host the Bulls, before playing in Chicago Monday.
Boston Celtics (23-47)
Inactives: Keith Bogans, Vitor Faverani, Gerald Wallace
Toronto Raptors (39-31)
Inactives: Patrick Patterson
Officials: Joe Crawford, Dick Bavetta, Courtney Kirkland
TV, radio: 7:30 p.m., CSNNE, WBZ-FM (98.5)
The Celtics return to action for the first time in five days, since a 114-98 loss to Brooklyn last Friday. Brad Stevens said the Celtics had two days of rest, before two days of practice, and are ready to get back on the floor. “The last two weren’t rest,” Stevens said. “The practices were pretty good, hopefully we got something accomplished. We’ll know more as we move into this stretch, because we really don’t have many times to practice like that left.”
Stevens had plenty of praise before the game for Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who has scored 19-plus points in 10 consecutive games. The first two times the teams met, Rajon Rondo did not play, and will have his work cut out against Lowry. “Kyle Lowry is playing terrific,” Stevens said. “He was arguably an All-Star earlier. He makes a lot of plays that don’t go talked about. That’s a great challenge for [Rondo], he’ll be guarding him some of the time, but we’ll be mixing up matchups.”
The Celtics coach also lauded the play of fifth-year guard Demar Derozan, averaging a career-best 22.7 points per game. “What stands out is…in January, his numbers were really good and now they’re better,” Stevens said. “Usually, you start to become more targeted and fall off. He’s just continued to go up.”