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NBA Selection

NBA Selection

NBA Selection

Friday, January 12, 2007 

4:35 PM PT/7:35 PM ET

Opinion Selection

Toronto -6 over BOSTON

The Celtics have yet more injury problems to contend with when they host the Raptors tonight. Not only did Boston drop its last game, a 97-84 decision to the Pacers on Wednesday, the team lost guard Tony Allen for the season with a knee injury. Even little-used Brian Scalabrine hurt his right knee in the loss to Indiana and went with Allen to the hospital.

Besides Allen and his 11.5 ppg, the Celts will also be without injured regulars Paul Pierce, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and Theo Ratliff. Of course, the loss of Pierce hurts the worst, as he leads Boston with an average of 26.6 points. For now, the team will be playing without 3 of its top 4 scorers. "As a coaching staff we've got to really put our heads together and try to figure out a way of playing without all these guys," said head coach Doc Rivers. "I've never seen anything like this. I really haven't. Up until this game I thought, 'you know, we can get through some of this.' But this one is a tough one. I wish I had some words of wisdom right now."

It certainly won’t get any easier here with a confident Raptors team coming in off a victory at Milwaukee. Boston is 0-7 SU (-14.3) & 0-7 ATS (-8.9 ppg) as a home underdog of more than 1 point off a home SU loss vs. opponents off a road favorite SU win, and 0-10 SU (-8.9 ppg) & 0-10 ATS (-8.8 ppg) at home when not favored by more than 6 points and off a SU loss vs. an opponent with less than 3 days rest.

Toronto has won three of its last four games, including the 90-77 triumph over the Bucks on Wednesday. Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 30 points, going 11-of-16 from the field and sank all eight of his free throws. The effort was a nice way to bounce back for Bosh, who only scored 12 points in a 101-86 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday.

This matchup will definitely favor Toronto, since Boston really doesn't have a quick, agile big man who can handle Bosh one-on-one. The Raptors’ leading scoring and rebounder is forcing teams to double-team him on almost every possession and he's becoming adept at quickly passing out to open teammates, which makes them more dangerous. Toronto is 5-0 SU (+9.8 ppg) & 5-0 ATS (+7.8 ppg) as a road favorite when not coming off an underdog SU win.

The Raptors actually had the lead in the Atlantic for a short time before losing at New Jersey. Here, they have a chance to gain some ground on a division foe, and should do just that as the Celts are 0-5 SU (-12.4 ppg) & 0-5 ATS (-15.5 ppg) in their last 5 games against Atlantic rivals and not in shape to put up much of a fight here.

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