The Boston Celtics are headed to the second round of the NBA playoffs where they will face the Toronto Raptors. Boston will face Toronto after both teams swept their first-round opponents. The Raptors-Celtics series will start on Thursday, August 27.
As with many things this postseason, the NBA is experimenting with starting the second round as soon as individual matchups are set rather than when the entire first round has been completed. The opening odds have not been released but the Celtics will likely be underdogs against the Raptors. According to OddsShark, the Raptors are fourth in the championship odds at +600, while the Celtics are sixth with +1200.
Brad Stevens on Raptors: ‘We’re Scared to Death of Them’
After the Celtics defeated the Raptors 112-106 last October, Brad Stevens laughed off the idea that Toronto is not a title contender since Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers. Stevens admitted that they were still “scared to death of them.”
“I laughed at the whole idea that Toronto, even though they won [the title], is still under-appreciated and under-ranked because there’s no way any coach would do that,” Stevens said, per Yahoo Sports. “So, it’s coming from somewhere, but it’s not us. We’re scared to death of them.”
The Celtics Have Won 3 of Their 4 Matchups vs. Raptors This Season
Despite Stevens’ words about the Raptors, Boston has had great success against Toronto this season winning three of four matchups this season. Most recently, the Celtics defeated the Raptors by 22 points on August 7 inside the NBA Bubble. After Toronto’s loss to Boston, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse downplayed its significance, even though it represented a potential playoff matchup at the time.
“The only thing I probably did learn is we’ve got to get a couple of our guys playing a little better,” Nurse noted, per The Chronicle Herald. “I’m not really concerned about some of the main guys, but there are a couple of guys that need to play a little better since the restart and I’m glad we still have four games to get ’em going and give them that chance. I’m not worried about their work ethic or their conditioning or some of those things. I just need to get them a little more confident, have things go their way a little bit more.”
The Raptors have looked much better since the blowout loss, and the Celtics are now without Gordon Hayward for the foreseeable future. Hayward recently left the bubble and plans to return to Disney once his ankle injury has healed.
Earlier this season, Jayson Tatum admitted that the Raptors defend him the best of any NBA team. If all goes as planned, we are headed towards a highly competitive Celtics-Raptors second-round matchup. The Bucks have looked vulnerable so far in the NBA Bubble, giving the winner of the series a chance at making the NBA finals.
Celtics vs. Raptors Schedule: Second Round Series
Here is a look at the Celtics-Raptors series schedule, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski. The NBA has not released the tip-off times or television details. The games with an asterisk indicate the schedule if contests are necessary.
|Thurs., August 27||Celtics v. Raptors Game 1|
|Sat., August 29||Celtics v. Raptors Game 2|
|Mon., August 31||Raptors vs. Celtics Game 3|
|Wed., September 2||Raptors vs. Celtics Game 4|
|Fri., September 4||Celtics vs. Raptors Game 5*|
|Sun., Sept. 6||Raptors vs. Celtics Game 6*|
|Tues., Sept. 8||Celtics vs. Raptors Game 7*|