The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will face off in the second round of the 2019-202o NBA playoffs. The Celtics (48-24) enter without Gordon Hayward, while the Raptors (53-19) may be without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
Lowry suffered a sprained ankle in the final game of the Raptors’ first round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets. Unlike Gordon Hayward–who will be out four weeks with a Grade 3 ankle sprain–Lowry’s time table to return is day-to-day. If unable to play, the Celtics would take a major advantage on both sides of the ball.
Overview: Generally in the playoffs, game one serves as a “test” game to see what your opponent’s gameplan is and how you will stop it going forward. Both Boston and Toronto are excellent shooting teams so I expect the team that wins the rebound battle to win game one. Toronto will control the boards and win a hard-fought game.
Winner: Toronto Raptors (1-0)
Overview: Brad Stevens and the Celtics will bounce back and adjust to prevent the Raptors from dominating in the paint once again. Strong performances by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will push the series back to even.
Winner: Boston Celtics (1-1)
Overview: Game three will be one of the toughest games of the series. Both teams will come out aggressive and physical. Toronto has the size advantage and therefore should control the paint. However, the Celtics will catch fire from outside and a strong performance from the bench will overcome the Raptors in game three.
Top Performer(s): Pascal Siakam (24 points, 15 rebounds), Jaylen Brown (27 points)
Winner: Boston Celtics (2-1)
Overview: Game four is important for both teams, but more so Toronto. The chance to comeback from down 3-1 in a series is very unlikely, so the Raptors will need to play solid the entire game. Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry will dominate on both ends of the floor and help the Raptors tie the series at two-a-piece.
Winner: Toronto Raptors (2-2)
Overview: Kemba Walker will dominate game five. The Celtics guard will score with ease on pick and roll action with Celtics’ center, Daniel Thies. Walker will score over 30 points and contribute several steals on the defensive end. The Celtics will overcome a strong performance by Pascal Siakam and take the series lead heading into game six.
Top Performer(s): Kemba Walker (31 points, five three-pointers), Pascal Siakam (28 points, 12 rebounds)
Winner: Boston Celtics (3-2)
Overview: Game six will be the first and only blow-out win of the series. Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will win by 20+ points and advance to the Conference Finals for the third time in four seasons. Kemba Walker will win his second-ever playoff series and Boston will have the chance to make the Finals for the first time since 2010.
Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (36 points)
Winner: Boston Celtics (4-2)
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