The Celtics said the "basketball gods" were against them in a disappointing home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. Now, they've got to get up early on Sunday and pray for forgiveness. The C's are north of the border, taking on the Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics are still comfortably atop the Atlantic Division, while the Raps are teetering on the brink of last place, one game ahead of the 76ers. Toronto could really use a win on its home floor.
When and Where
Celtics at Raptors
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1 p.m. (CSNNE)
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Head to Head
This is Boston's first of four meetings this season with Toronto. The Celtics swept their season series with the Raptors both last year and the year before, and they're 12-1 in their last 13 games dating back to 2007. Things have been pretty one-sided north of the border.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Andrea Bargnani
Shaq is old, slow and tends to set up shop under the basket; Bargnani is mobile and likes to jack up shots from all over the floor. This isn't an ideal matchup for the Diesel. Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, has emerged as the Raptors' first option in the absence of Chris Bosh, averaging 17.2 shot attempts per game. The Celtics will have to dig deep to find a way to contain him. Shaq's too slow, Glen Davis is too short, and Kevin Garnett will be too busy trying to box out Reggie Evans all day. Bargnani will be a handful.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Shaquille O'Neal
Point guard: Jose Calderon
Shooting guard: DeMar DeRozan
Small forward: Sonny Weems
Power forward: Reggie Evans
Center: Andrea Bargnani
- Kevin Garnett had two rebounds in the Celtics' Friday night loss to the Thunder, a season low. He's averaging 9.4 boards per game this season.
- Ray Allen and Paul Pierce each have matching 92.3 percent free-throw percentages. Allen is 24-for-26 on the season, while Pierce has doubled him up, at 48-for-52.
- Shaquille O'Neal has averaged 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in four games since returning from a bruised knee on Nov. 11.
- Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting in the Raptors' win Friday night over the Rockets. He is averaging 21.0 points per game this season, a team high and a personal career high.
- Reggie Evans has gotten 25.4 percent of available rebounds on the court, the highest rate in the NBA.
- Sonny Weems scored 21 points the last time he faced the Celtics, on April 7. He shot 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
Black and Blue
- Rajon Rondo is questionable with a strained left hamstring. He will be a game-time decision.
- Avery Bradley is nearing a return from offseason ankle surgery.
- Jermaine O'Neal is out with a knee injury.
- Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and will be out until 2011.
- Leandro Barbosa has missed the Raptors' last six games with a strained left shoulder. There's a good chance he returns Sunday.
- Ed Davis underwent knee surgery in September and is now out indefinitely.
The Raptors just made a fairly major trade this weekend, sending Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Andersen to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic. The two newest Raptors might not make it to Toronto in time for their first game — they have physicals to pass, customs to get through in Canada, and an early start at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Raps might be shorthanded, and they might be a bit rusty as they move through this transition period. If the C's come ready to play, they can capitalize.