Event: Boston Celtics (0-0) vs. Toronto Raptors (0-0) - NBA Preseason 2011.
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 1:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Air Canada Centre (Capacity: 19,800), Toronto, Ontario.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Celtics and Raptors can be seen on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman providing play-by-play, Tommy Heinsohn providing color commentary and Greg Dickerson reporting from the sidelines. The game can also be heard on the radio on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Sean Grande on play-by-play duty and Cedric Maxwell providing analysis.
Odds: There isn't a line on this game, but the Celtics are favored by virtue of their dominance of the Raptors over recent years. In general, the Raptors won't be favored over the Celtics - plain and simple.
Boston In 2010-11: Boston finished with a 56-26 record and were first in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division, going 13-3 against divisional opponents. The Celtics breezed past the New York Knicks in a four-game sweep in the opening round of the playoffs, but the Miami Heat proved to be too much for the old and injured Celtics to handle.
Toronto In 2010-11: The Raptors were among the worst teams in the NBA last season, finishing with a 22-60 record and finished fifth (dead last) in the Atlantic Division, going 5-11 against teams in their own division.
Celtics Roster: Guards -Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling, Gilbert Brown (G-F), Marquis Daniels (G-F), E'Twaun Moore. Forwards - Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, Paul Pierce (F-G), Michael Sweetney, Sasha Pavlovic (F-G). Centers - Jermaine O'Neal (C-F), Jamal Sampson (C-F), Greg Stiemsma.
Raptors Roster: Guards - Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless, Jose Calderon, Anthony Carter, DeMar DeRozan (G-F). Forwards - Rasual Butler, Ed Davis, Gary Forbes, Amir Johnson, James Johnson, Linas Kleiza (F-G). Centers - Solomon Alabi, Andrea Bargnani (C-F), Aaron Gray, Jamaal Magloire.
Celtics Injury Report: The C's have five players who have been injured during training camp, with Jeff Green, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Sasha Pavlovic all suffering from injuries. Green will miss the entire season after doctors found an aortic aneurysm that will require heart surgery to fix. Pierce is recovering from a bruised right heel and won't play on Sunday. Garnett (thumb) and Pavlovic (wrist) haven't been ruled out against Toronto.
Storyline: Finally, basketball is back. No, it isn't regular season basketball, but after that pesky NBA Lockout, fans are ready for anything. The Celtics don't have a lot of time to get ready for the regular season (which opens for them on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks) -- but really, who does? -- so Doc Rivers will likely give plenty of minutes to his bench as he continues to sift through the roles on this team. The score doesn't matter -- at all. Rivers even said that he and the Celtics wouldn't even do any prep work for this game and wouldn't even focus on them during the game. It's all about figuring out the rotations at this point, as it should be.
Prediction: With this being a meaningless preseason game, the score really doesn't matter. But why not predict a score anyways? It seems like lesser teams find ways to win in the preseason, so I'll give the edge to Toronto. Final Score: Raptors 89, Celtics 84.