It’s good to be back, isn’t it? The Toronto Raptors will look to keep things rolling tonight, as they head to the TD Garden in Boston. Both the Boston Celtics and the Raptors won their season openers. The game will be a divisional clash between the two teams most likely to win the Atlantic.
With the tough schedule the Raptors will face in the next few weeks, taking care of business in winnable games such as this one will be critical. Here is what the Raps will have to do to care of business.
Raptors Cage’s Keys to the Game
Contain the back-court
The Celtics’ primary weapon comes from the backcourt trio of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Isaiah Thomas. These three are both solid players that can penetrate with ease. It will be critical for Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Cory Joseph to slow these guys down and take pressure off the paint.
Move the rock
Despite the clearly concentrated effort on playing more team oriented basketball, the Raptors failed to get the ball moving as well as they can in their first time out. Using the two point guard line-up isn’t the solution either, coach.
Lowry needs to settle the offense when things get out of hand – calm the team down and get better shots. We saw far too many forced attempts from the iso-heavy players last time out.
Get the bigs involved
Jonas Valanciunas was an absolute monster last game. Despite this, his touches were quite limited. When you have such an advantage, exploit it. Use the big man in pick and rolls, establish his presence not only early but late. Luis Scola is also a very crafty player that didn’t get much of a chance in the post last time out. Use the inside and punish the weaker Celtics defenders.
X-Factor: Terrence Ross
I’m going to go with T Ross because of the short stretch of brilliance he showed us last time out. I’m convinced that it’s all about confidence for Ross, simply because after he hits a shot or two his defensive effort and willingness to attack offensively just seems to rise. The Raps will need Ross to be engaged defensively – when he is, he is their best perimeter defender.