|NBA: Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Sunday, 04 November 2007 02:06|
Boston's imposing new lineup couldn't have looked much better in its debut on Friday.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will try to build on an impressive season-opener Sunday when the Celtics visit the Toronto Raptors.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Toronto -2 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 191.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston +2 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Celtics picked up Garnett from Minnesota and Allen from Seattle in the offseason to help out Pierce, who has averaged 23.6 points while spending the first nine years of his career with the Celtics. Pierce, who addressed the crowd before the game when a brief ceremony was held naming the court for Red Auerbach, was clearly energized and led the Celtics with 28 points in Friday's 103-83 win over Washington.
"I'm at a place right now in my career, I couldn't ask for anything better," said Pierce, who has won just three playoff series with the Celtics.
Pierce had good reason to be excited - Garnett had 22 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals in his Boston debut. The last player with 20 points and 20 rebounds in his first game with the Celtics was Sidney Wicks, who had 21 points and 22 rebounds on Oct. 21, 1976, at Indiana.
"Tonight was rocking, man," Garnett said.
Allen, meanwhile, took only 10 shots but chipped in 17 points for Boston, which lost a franchise-record 18 straight games last season and posted their second-worst record (24-58) in their 62 seasons.
"It's a good message to put out there," Allen said of the big win, "but we'll be tried every night."
Pierce also helped out Boston's bench, scoring seven of Boston's 11 points during a stretch in the second period with Garnett and Allen on the bench. The run put Boston ahead 38-26.
"We're just trying to keep Paul with that second unit so they have a go-to guy every time," coach Doc Rivers said. "And Paul knows that it's his time."
Rajon Rondo, who is taking over at point guard in just his second season, had 15 points and 15 steals.
The Celtics will get more help against the Raptors. Forward James Posey, signed as a free agent in the offseason, served his one-game suspension for pleading no contest to reckless driving stemming from an incident in April.
Posey joins fellow veteran newcomers Eddie House and Scot Pollard on the Celtics' bench.
Boston has dropped three of its last four meetings with the reigning Atlantic Division champions, but lost 95-87 at home in the last matchup on March 26. Garnett has averaged 20.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in 23 career games against the Raptors, while Allen has averaged 21.3 points in 34 games and Pierce has averaged 22.6 in 30.
Toronto (2-0) has won each of its first two games, and set a team record for margin of victory in Friday's 106-69 rout in New Jersey. Andrea Bargnani scored a team-high 21 points against the Nets, who knocked the Raptors out of the first round of last season's playoffs.
Chris Bosh chipped in 15 points for Toronto, which was coming off Wednesday's 106-97 win over Philadelphia.
"We played well," coach Sam Mitchell said. "I didn't realize what the score was because we were on our guys about playing defense. It was a good win, but is only game 2 with 80 more to go."
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com
- NBA Basketball teams