It’s almost too neat, all the trends suddenly flowing in support of the Raptors. Game 1 was an outright disaster for Toronto, Game 2 saw a fluke occurence — Marcus Smart catching fire — snatch victory away from them. Then came Game 3’s miracle shot from OG Anunoby, which saw Toronto’s young forward stay comically nonchalant; and after which Fred VanVleet opined that Boston had “fucked up now.” This was all followed by Game 4’s more assertive, controlled win for Toronto, making it easier to see Fred’s point.
Boston is, on paper, still the team with perhaps more high-level talent. Toronto has done what it can (which is a lot) to frustrate the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker, yet they’ve still had their chances to bring victory back to the Celtics after two straight defeats. Their desperation will likely continue to grow in Game 5, which may indeed make them better — or it may fluster them, driving them into a turn for the worse. The constant here is the Raptors, who seem to know who they are for the most part — and how how they want to play. That’s not nothing in a series that is now this tight.
That’s why Fred was so confident in his assertion after Toronto’s Game 3 win, as miraculous as it was. The Raptors have played poorly in just one game of this series and could just as easily be up 3-1 as a result. That they aren’t is a testament to Boston’s abilities, and a little bit of luck both for and against. But those numbers — the shooting, the defense, the offense, all of it — continue to trend in the right way for the Raptors. As you read this you may even be nodding along in agreement. Yes, of course, Boston may have indeed f-ed up.
So we turn to our Game 5 preview from this morning from John Gaudes to get us up to speed. And then below are your updated details for tonight’s game.
Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
TSN, 6:30pm 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)