After a successful debut at the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Raptors seek to carry this momentum on the road as they will face the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. The Celtics are going into this game with a win of their own against the 76ers.
The Raptors will have a chance to meet former Raptor veteran Amir Johnson as he starts to feel comfortable with his new team. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have both shared a strong bond with Johnson during his tenure as a Raptor.
Amir Johnson is a player that resonated in Toronto as a fan favorite and provided a strong defensive anchor for Toronto in the past six seasons. Last season, he has averaged nine points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Although his stat line may seem inadequate, it is the other qualities that make him a great big man in this league.
For one, he is an amazing screen setter. The Raptors utilized the pick-and-roll with great success from the likes of Johnson. Johnson’s chemistry with DeRozan was also very stellar. As Johnson sets the pick, DeRozan had ample room from his defender to score a jumper or drive to the hoop. The off-season signing of Amir Johnson was a great move by the Celtics this summer as it enhances the team’s defense as well as giving them a veteran presence on their roster.
The off-season for the Boston Celtics has been very active as they have acquired a couple of quality players. The most noteworthy acquisitions include David Lee and Amir Johnson. Despitte losing his starting job, David Lee had a great season with the Golden State Warriors as a versatile four off the bench. Last season, he averaged nearly eight points and five rebounds. Lee is an efficient shooter as well, with a relatively high field goal percentage.
The Celtics also acquired guard Isaiah Thomas late last season via a trade, and he had a fantastic season debut on Wednesday against the Sixers, scoring an efficient 27 points in just 29 minutes. He has shown to be a strong, consistent scorer for the club since coming over from Phoenix, averaging 16.4 points with a 41 percent field goal percentage.
The Raptors are going into this game with a tough win against the Pacers. After a miserable first half, the Raptors exploded in the third quarter with the help of Kyle Lowry pushing and facilitating his team. The Raptors defense has also been impressive, limiting the Pacers offense to 37 percent shooting. Jonas Valanciunas had an incredible performance, posting up 21 points and 15 rebounds.
The Raptors look to carry this momentum as they face Boston tonight at 7:30 PM EST.