Celtics Primed for First Meeting With Division Rival Raptors

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Celtics Primed for First Meeting With Division Rival Raptors With the turkey digested and the focus back to basketball, the Celtics return to the grind of their current six-game stretch against Eastern Conference foes.

Next up is the C's first meeting with the Toronto Raptors, the current second-place team in the Atlantic Division and a threat to make the playoffs this season. The Celtics will have plenty to be thankful for if they can come up with their third straight victory.

When and Where

Friday, Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records

Celtics (11-4, First place in Atlantic Division)
Raptors (7-9, Second place in Atlantic Division)

Head to Head

This is the Celtics' first meeting with the Raptors, who trail them by 4 1/2 games in the Atlantic Division standings. Dating back the last three seasons, the Celtics have been dominant against Toronto as they've won eight of their last nine meetings, with the lone loss coming in Boston — a 114-112 squeaker on Jan. 23, 2008.

Skinny

This is a pivotal year for these Raptors. It's their first season with Hedo Turkoglu, who jumped at a $53 million offer to come north of the border. It also may be their last season with Chris Bosh, who becomes a free agent at the end of this season. The Raptors have a narrow window to put together a winning season before likely breaking up one of the best forward tandems in the NBA. At the moment, they're 7-9 and it will be an uphill battle to make their third Eastern Conference playoff appearance in four years.

Projected Starters

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Raptors
Point guard: Jose Calderon
Shooting guard: DeMar DeRozan
Small forward: Hedo Turkoglu
Power forward: Chris Bosh
Center: Andrea Bargnani

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 4-0 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

They are third in the NBA with 132 steals.

Rajon Rondo has 2.5 steals per game, tied with the Warriors' Monta Ellis for first in the NBA.

Kendrick Perkins is averaging double-digit scoring for the first time in his career with 10.6 points per game.

Kevin Garnett is shooting 76.9 percent from the free-throw line, his lowest percentage since the 2002-03 season.

Rasheed Wallace is averaging 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game against the Raptors.

Paul Pierce is averaging 22.2 points against them.

Ray Allen is a 95.2 percent free-throw shooter at home.

Raptors
The Raptors are 2-7 on the road.

They are fifth in the league in total rebounds with 663.

Chris Bosh has made 141 free throws, most in the NBA.

Bosh also leads the league with 131 defensive rebounds.

Andrea Bargnani is averaging 17.4 points per game, a career high.

Jose Calderon has 7.2 assists and 2.1 turnovers per game.

Hedo Turkoglu is averaging 13.8 points and 4.8 rebounds for his career against the Celtics.

DeMar DeRozan
is averaging 5.9 points per game on the road.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Glen Davis
hopes to strengthen his hand following the Dec. 2 removal of the cast from his broken thumb.

Tony Allen is out indefinitely with a right ankle injury.

Bill Walker is playing on a surgically repaired right knee for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.

Raptors
Hedo Turkoglu has battled a sore left hip for the past week. He has played through the pain.

Marco Belinelli missed Sunday's game against Orlando with a minor left groin injury. He is now back in action.

Reggie Evans
has a sprained left foot. He is out indefinitely.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1981, the Celtics sign shooting guard Danny Ainge after a long legal battle to wrestle him away from his baseball career with the Toronto Blue Jays. Ainge went on to play 15 seasons with the Celtics, Kings, Blazers and Suns before eventually moving into the front office and running the Celtics in 2003 after a head coaching stint with the Suns from 1996-1999.

Overheard

"His surgery has healed, but he’s had discomfort in his shins. KG wouldn’t be playing right now if he wasn’t confident, and he wouldn’t be playing if he was hurt."
–Celtics GM Danny Ainge, in the Boston Herald, on the health status of Kevin Garnett.

Press Box

Celtics
The C's overcame the Sixers on Wednesday.

Boston gives thanks for Paul Pierce.

Kevin Garnett is still being watched closely.

Raptors
The Raptors suffered their worst loss of the season.

Jarrett Jack had the last laugh.

Unselfishness pays off.

NBA
How will Allen Iverson be remembered?

Shaquille O'Neal made a grand gesture.

The Magic got the best of the Hawks.

Outlook

With the strength of Bosh and Bargnani down low and the perimeter game of Turkoglu and Calderon, the Raptors are a high-powered offensive engine. The Celtics will need a staunch defensive effort on Friday night — especially from Garnett against Bosh. The C's are the better team in this matchup, but they can't afford any slip-ups defensively if they want to shut down a potent Raptors attack. Staying focused will be key in the Celtics' quest for their third consecutive win.

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