Boston (23-14) at Toronto (24-12)
When: Tuesday, January 10th 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBA TV
The surging Boston Celtics look to catch the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings when the two teams meet on Tuesday night. Boston has won four games in a row and six of their last seven to pull within one game of Toronto not only in the Atlantic Division, but for second place in the Eastern Conference. Boston does have an injury concern to one of their key players, as guard Avery Bradley missed Saturday’s 117-108 win over New Orleans due to a strained Achilles and he is questionable for Tuesday. Marcus Smart got the start in Bradley’s place in the win over the Pelicans and scored a season-high 22 points while making 5-of-7 three’s. Smart is shooting 36.2% from beyond the arc in his 11 starts – including 3-of-7 against Toronto on December 9th – and 28.7% in 23 games off the bench. Star guard Isaiah Thomas scored 38 points versus New Orleans and is averaging 31.4 since returning from a groin injury in mid-December. Boston has averaged 17.8 made 3-pointers over its last four games while shooting 51.5% from long range. Boston will be back home tomorrow night to face the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors seem to be going in the opposite direction as a result of a tough road swing. Toronto has lost their last two and four of their past five road contests. Guarding the other teams’ stars has been an issue the past two games as the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler (42 points) and Houston’s James Harden (40 points – triple-double) went off on them. Guard Kyle Lowry was particularly bad in the loss to the Rockets with a season low two made baskets. DeMarre Carroll (9.8 points) helped pick up the slack with a season-high 26 points on 7-of-12 field goals and six made three-pointers. Toronto’s other guard did all he could in the last two losses with consecutive 36-point efforts while making 26-of-27 free throws. Toronto has allowed at least 110 points five times during its last seven games – five losses. The Raptors will get two days off after tonight and will host Brooklyn on Friday.
It’s really hard to go against Boston right now with the way they’re shooting the three, but Toronto has dominated the series of late winning four of the last five and covering the spread in each of those victories. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Raptors -4.5