Ten straight combined losses aside, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will meet on Wednesday night at TD Garden as each team looks to end their respective losing streaks.
Event: Toronto Raptors (4-10) vs. Boston Celtics (4-8) - NBA Regular Season, Game 13.
Date/Time: January 18, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Wednesday's game between the Celtics and Raptors will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson bringing you all of the action. In addition, the game will be aired on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on the broadcast.
Odds: Boston is a 9 1/2-point favorite over Toronto, with the over-under set at 110 points.
Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
Raptors Roster 2011-12: Solomon Alabi, Leandro Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani, Jerryd Bayless, Rasual Butler, Jose Calderon, Anthony Carter, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Gary Forbes, Aaron Gray, Amir Johnson, James Johnson, Linas Kleiza, Jamaal Magloire. Head Coach: Dwane Casey.
Celtics And Raptors In 2011: Boston and Toronto met four times in the regular season last year, with the Celtics losing three of the four games. After a season series-opening 102-101 win for the C's on Nov. 21, Toronto closed out the series with three consecutive victories -- a 110-101 win on Nov. 26, a 93-79 win on Jan. 2 and a 122-102 win on Jan. 7.
Last Time Out: Boston, losers of five games in a row, is coming off a 97-88 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Paul Pierce played his best game of the season, scoring a team-high 24 points and Mickael Pietrus scored 14 points off the bench for the Celtics, who were held to 39.1 percent shooting from the floor.
Toronto, which has also lost five straight games, was defeated by the Atlanta Hawks, 93-84, on Monday. Leandro Barbosa led his team with 22 points off the bench and Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon both scored 13 points. The Raptors shot 42.3 percent from the field in defeat and only made 3-of-12 three-point attempts.
Statistics Central: Ray Allen is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging 16.5 points. Rajon Rondo leads the team with 10.0 assists per game and 1.8 steals per contest, Kevin Garnett averages 7.5 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal is averaging 1.7 blocks. Boston ranks 26th in the league in points for (89.8), 28th in rebounding (38.6 RPG), ninth in assists (21.7 APG) and ninth in points allowed (92.5).
Andrea Bargnani is the Raptors' leading scorer, averaging 22.3 points. Amir Johnson averages a team-high 8.2 rebounds, Jose Calderon averages 9.1 assists and 1.2 steals and James Johnson is averaging 1.5 blocks. Toronto is 29th in the league in scoring, averaging 86.0 point and is 15th in rebounding (42.0), 19th in assists (20.5) and eighth in points allowed (91.9)
Storyline: If you are looking for quality basketball, you may want to shield your eyes. Boston and Toronto haven't exactly been playing quality basketball to start the season, with the two teams boasting a combined 8-18 record and an 0-10 mark in their last five games combined. Not exactly what one would call pro-quality hoops, is it?
Nevertheless, something has to give on Monday night. Both teams enter with five-game losing streaks and both are among the worst offensive teams in the league. Since it isn't possible for both teams to lose in a game, one team will find its way back into the win column once again.
Fortunately, all signs would point to that team being the Celtics. Boston took care of Toronto twice in the preseason, even if those games are meaningless, and is a hearty favorite to win again Monday. However, the Raptors have recent history on their side. Last season, Toronto won three of the four meetings by an average score of 106.5-96.
Don't expect a high-scoring affair tonight, though, as both teams are lacking the scoring touch so far this year. Do, however, expect a close game. It may be too much to ask for a Celtics blowout win in any game this season.
Prediction: This won't provide many top ten moments on SportsCenter, but it will hold your interest simply because it will likely be a close game. Again, just warning you, it probably won't be pretty. Final Score: Celtics 94, Raptors 88.