A look at the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal between the Raptors and Boston Celtics, tentatively scheduled to start Thursday night:
Boston won, 3-1
Kyle Lowry of the Raptors is day-to-day with a sprained ankle, but Fred VanVleet and Norm Powell against Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart could be outstanding. The Raptors have more offence, but Smart’s one of the best defenders in the league.
OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam vs. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could be where the series is decided. Anunoby’s defensive abilities will be put to the test, and he may be a key to Toronto offence since he’s the guy the Celtics may leave alone to double-team others.
Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka vs. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. Advantage Raptors because of experience and offensive versatility.
NEED TO KNOW
First-ever playoff meeting between the teams: “I would imagine this is going to be a hell of a series and rivalry-like,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse … the Celtics trounced Toronto 122-100 for the lone Raptors loss in eight seeding games … Boston’s Walker has won more playoff games in the last 10 days (four) than he did in eight seasons in Charlotte (three).
Raptors in seven
With or without Lowry for however many games he may miss, the Raptors are a bit deeper and vastly more experienced.
Game 1: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. (TSN)
Game 2: Saturday, TBD
Game 3: Monday, TBD
Game 4: Wednesday, TBD
Game 5: Sept. 4, TBD*
Game 6: Sept. 6, TBD*
Game 7: Sept. 8, TBD*