Wednesday night features an Eastern Conference matchup as the Toronto Raptors (2-3) try to push this series to the distance in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics (3-2). Tipoff is at 6:30 pm ET from the HP Field House.
The Eastern Conference semis have been a back and forth series that has seen both teams look like they could take control. After Toronto evened things up at 2-2, Boston convincingly took Game 5, 111-89.
In the victory, forward Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 27 points and 6 rebounds. It was a team effort, though, as six players scored 12 or more, including Kemba Walker with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists and Jayson Tatum with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Celtics will look to close this out on Wednesday.
In the loss, the Raptors struggled to get anything going consistently. Fred VanVleet led the way with 18 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists while reserve Norman Powell had the next most points with 16. Toronto will look for their stars to take over in Game 6; otherwise, they may be heading back home.
According to Fanduel, the Celtics are favored with a Moneyline of -144. The Raptors are +122 underdogs. The spread currently has the Raptors at +3, while the over/under for total points is 210.
If you are betting the series winner, the Celtics are updated to -385 while the Raptors are +290 to come back and win a potential game seven.
By The Numbers
Offensively, these two teams are pretty similar. The Celtics rank 12th in the league in scoring at +113 per game. The Raptors come in just a couple spots behind them at 14th averaging 112.5 points per game.
On the defensive side, these are the two best teams in the league. When it comes to opponents’ points per game, the Raptors rank first, allowing just 106.3 points per game. Boston comes in 2nd, giving up 106.4 points per game.
Raptors Looking To Push It To A Game 7
If Toronto has any shot of surviving this round, their stars have to elevate their games. Even though they have been a team built around depth, they have some elite talent. Unfortunately, in Game 5, the likes of Pascal Siakam (10 points, 4 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (10 points, 5 assists) did not show up.
Despite their absences in the last game, these two can’t be dismissed. During the postseason, Siakam has averaged 18 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Lowry has averaged 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Other significant contributors during the postseason have included Fred VanVleet (19.4 points, 7 assists), Serge Ibaka (15.1 points, 8.2 rebounds), Norman Powell (12.6 points), and OG Anunoby (10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds).
Boston Wants To End It Now
Absolutely anything can happen in a Game 7. For that reason alone, the Celtics would love to finish it in six. After taking a three games to two lead, Boston does not want to give the Raptors any wiggle room and will look to come out with fury from the get-go.
Leading the way this postseason for Boston has been Jayson Tatum. He is averaging 24.4 points on 45.7% shooting in nine games while also adding 9.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
Other contributors for Boston include Kemba Walker (21.9 points, 5.2 assists), Jaylen Brown (19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds), and Marcus Smart (11.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists).
Taking The Raptors And The Points
I am not sure if the Raptors pull out the victory or not, but I do think this game will be close. Unlike the 111-89 walloping the Raptors took on Monday, I anticipate Toronto’s stars to step up and give their team a shot on Wednesday.
Don’t get me wrong, the Celtics will be looking to close this one out, and if they can bury the Raptors, they absolutely will; however, the Raptors have been too good all season to fold, and being spotted three points seems like too enticing of a bet to pass up. For my money, I am taking Toronto +3.