Wednesday night's game between the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, will be a crucial game for the Raptors, as Boston is team they are chasing for the final playoff spot in the east. This is Boston's first trip to Toronto this season and are currently on a four game winning streak, despite having lost their all star point guard, Rajon Rondo to season ending knee injury. Toronto will look to rebound from a second half disappointment on Sunday against Miami, which was dominated by the teams turnovers and inability to score in the second half against a tightened Miami defense. Toronto is now seven and a half games out of the final playoff spot, and will have to put forth more of a complete game for 48 minutes to secure a win and gain ground on Boston. Andrea Bargnani will make his way back into the lineup for the first time since December, after he suffered from an elbow injury. It more than likely that he will come off the bench, which works in the Raptors favor, as they have not got much scoring from their bench over the last couple of games.
Key Match Up
Paul Pierce vs. Rudy Gay
These two players are a couple of high scoring wingers, as Pierce averages about 19 points a game and Rudy Gay has amassed a total of 49 points in his first two Raptors games. Look for Rudy Gay to attract double teams from the Celtics, which will create opportunities for other players like DeRozan, Johnson and Lowry. On the other hand, the Raptors need to carefully guard Pierce, his experience, scoring ability and ability to create open shots for other players, can hurt the Raptors.
The Raptors need to win games against the teams that they are chasing, because it not only allows them to gain ground on those teams, but if at the end of the season, the teams have identical records it would come down to head-to-head match ups.
Tonight the Raptors are favorite by 3.5 points and the over/under is at 189.5. The Raptors are favorite to win the match, with odds at -155. Look for the Raptors to win this game, as they have to gain ground on Boston, they have fairly decent record at home, they have to rebound from their second half mishaps against Miami on the weekend, and they are welcoming back Andrea Bargnani into the lineup, who will provide them with extra scoring from the bench. I wouldn't touch the over/under in this game, as both teams are unpredictable with scoring, but I would take Toronto to cover the spread, as they should do this easily.