The Raptors do not want to play the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been making noise in the NBA’s Eastern Conference now for about four years. In 2017 they won 53 games and were the best team in the Eastern Conference. They followed that season up with a 55 win performance in 2018 but lost in the Eastern Conference Finals both years to the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers.
It is no wonder some believe they are the class of the East, not forgetting Toronto and the Milwaukee Bucks. Since Boston’s rise in 2017, the Toronto Raptors have managed to avoid their divisional rival in the playoffs.
This may be the year the Raptors and Celtics provide fans with a playoff tilt. It would feature two of the games young rising stars in Jayson Tatum versus Pascal Siakam. It would be a second-round series or the Eastern Conference Final should it occur. Where this series could turn ugly for Toronto is that Boston now has a clutch performer at the point guard spot in Kemba Walker and a team just as deep as Toronto’s.
The first two problems that Boston presents for the Toronto Raptors is that they are rated fifth in the NBA offensively and fourth defensively. They will be a load to handle at both ends of the floor so Toronto must be at their best defensively and their offense will need to be steady should this match up occur.
Boston benefits from strong scorers in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker all three scoring over 20 points a game. 12 players see double-digit minutes per game so Brad Stevens, like Toronto’s head coach Nick Nurse, has options at every spot on the floor.
Brad Stevens is also a highly respected head coach. Should a series occur between these teams, coaching decisions could be a deciding factor. One knock against Nick Nurse would be that in 2019 he was very stingy with the minutes he distributed in the playoffs. While he appears more trusting of his bench this season, a short bench would be detrimental in a head to head series with Boston.
Another area of intrigue, if this match up materializes, is that both teams can beat you with different players in any given game. In regards to win-share, Pascal Siakam leads the Raptors with a rating of 6.9 but Boston does have six players rated higher than four with Tatum at 6.2.
If a series between these teams were to come down to star power, Tatum is considered the more all-around talent versus Pascal Siakam, and Kemba Walkers’ effective field goal percentage is 52. Boston against Toronto would be a great series well worth the four-year wait.