What do we even say now? The Raptors were riding high all afternoon. We knew Serge Ibaka was going to play, Patrick Patterson was going to play, P.J. Tucker later said, at his introduction to the media, that he thought he too was going to play. We're 30 minutes from tip-off and now we know this scary fact: Kyle Lowry is not going to play.
So the Boston Celtics are in town and this game is something of a big deal. The Raptors were once feeling high and mighty above them in the standings. Now, they're four games behind the Celtics, and while we assumed they were emotionally high heading into this game, Lowry being out has to change the feeling a little bit. The Raptors are almost whole -- or perhaps even more than whole given the addition of two new highly competent and usable players -- but without Lowry.........
As for the Celtics, minus Avery Bradley, they're fully loaded and ready to play. The first meeting between these two teams, supernova Isaiah Thomas sat out (the Raptors won), then Bradley missed the second (the Raptors won), and then DeMar DeRozan missed the third (the Celtics won). These teams haven't quite met at even strength and they definitely won't now. The tie breaker is on the line, and the good vibes that had been fostered in the past ten days seem to have dissipated somewhat.
Our man John Gaudes has the preview which does not reflect this new info, but we go with what we've got. Let's get to the game.