The second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs is finally here, and it kicks off with the series we’ve all been waiting for: The Boston Celtics against the defending NBA Champions, your Toronto Raptors. These two teams have been near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and making deep playoff runs for half a decade, but have somehow managed to avoid each other in the postseason...
[epic trailer guy voice]
... until now!
Naturally, one wonders how mentally ready the players are to jump back into postseason play after the events of the past week. Players have collectively spoken of a feeling of trauma after seeing yet another Black person, Jacob Blake, gunned down by police, and a feeling of helplessness in seeing this happen again and again — a feeling exacerbated by the players being isolated in their Orlando bubble. Productive steps were taken with the league, and promises of further action made, but that doesn’t make those feelings disappear.
Still: These guys are pros, and basketball is in many ways their safe haven, so chances are, when that ball goes up, players on both sides will lock in in short order. And we should have a heck of a series on our hands.
Meanwhile, some good news to share:
Toronto’s Kyle Lowry (ankle) is available to play in Game 1 against Boston.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 30, 2020
And there’ll be some additional cheerleaders on the bench, too:
Patrick McCaw and Oshae Brissett have returned to the bubble and will be on the bench today. No update on injury timetables.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) August 30, 2020
Any other lingering questions? There’s a good chance they’re answered here:
- Dylan Litman’s Game 1 preview
- JD Quirante’s tactical overview
- John Gaudes’ series preview
- The That’s a Rap Podcast series preview
And when you’re done with all that... jump back here and get in the comments!
Where to Watch
TSN, 1:00 PM EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Boston – Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis
Toronto – Patrick McCaw (knee – out), Oshae Brissett (knee – out)
Boston – Javonte Green (knee – out), Gordon Hayward (ankle – out), Tremont Waters (knee – out)