It’s fair to be a tad frustrated with the late start time for Game 7 of this Raptors-Celtics series. The number of times Toronto tends to play after 9pm Eastern Standard Time during the regular season and playoffs is usually very low. Even when they were in last year’s Finals, you could at least count on an 8pm-ish start. It’s been a long day of waiting, is perhaps my point.
On the end of all this waiting, however, is a bright side: the Raptors could use the rest. Owing to the quality of their opponent — yes, I can admit it — Toronto has had to lean hard on their starters, namely the triumvate of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and, of course, Kyle Lowry. Others on the Raptors have played heavy minutes too, with OG Anunoby, for example, getting after it and guarding everyone from Daniel Theis to Kemba Walker at times. But those first three have been The Guys for Toronto. As they go — be it on offense or defense — so go the Raptors.
That’s been the most common sentiment assigned particularly to Lowry, and it’s easy to see why. (There’s a wondrous piece here from Henry Abbott on the Total Lowry Effect.) In this series — against, yes, a worthwhile foe — it’s been Lowry who’s had to, first, find ways to win the game and then, second, actually go out and do those things for longer and longer stretches of time. In Game 4, that meant playing the entire second half. In Game 6, it meant playing the entire second half plus two overtimes. For Lowry, it’s gotten to be quite a load.
Nevertheless, Lowry excelling under that extreme pressure is why we’re here today with the Raptors — and, sure, the Celtics — for Game 7. At this point, it’s relatively impossible to predict what will happen, except to say: Lowry will give it his all, and the rest of his teammates will try their best to follow. There’s really not much else to be done.
Once again, below are tonight’s game details. Here’s this morning’s preview from John Gaudes. All that’s left to do is, you guessed it: watch.
Where to Watch
TSN, 9pm 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 — Gordon Hayward (ankle — out), Javonte Green (knee — out), Vincent Poirier (personal — out)