After watching the Toronto Raptors fight and scrap their way to two straight wins in Games 3 and 4, it was hard to expect what happened in Monday’s Game 5 against the Celtics.
Not only did Boston look like the better team, but the Raptors looked deflated from the opening jump. While the post-game quotes vehemently fought the notion that Toronto is dealing with a fatigue issue, there’s little doubt that five games against this Celtics defense is starting to take its toll. Kyle Lowry’s abrasion and skill helped drive the team to another gear for a couple games, but the lack of a go-to scorer and the struggles from distance have compounded.
So, here we are with everything on the line in Game 6. And who are we to count the Raptors out? During last year’s championship run, the key word at the core of Toronto’s run was resilience. They were able to take a punch, from the playoff opener loss to Orlando to a Finals Game 5 haymaker from Golden State — the Raptors always found some energy and bounced back.
They’ll have some help back too. After having his foot in a boot yesterday, Serge Ibaka is good to go tonight and will not have his minutes restricted.
Serge Ibaka (ankle) will play in Game 6. No minute restriction, per Nurse.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) September 9, 2020
Given Ibaka has been the Raptors’ best (and sometimes only) scoring punch off the bench, this is great news indeed. Also, Marc Gasol is doing his part to try to inspire.
Big updates ahead of Raptors-Celtics: Marc Gasol got a haircut. We’ll see if that leads to an improved offensive performance after a rough series, and a particularly rough Game 5.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) September 9, 2020
It’ll have to be more than health and haircuts tonight, though. The Raptors will need some outside shots to fall, they’ll need to play 48 minutes of defense, and someone (anyone!) will have to make some tough shots in the clutch.
We know there’s capability in this team. Now, let’s get to the game details... and watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet, 6:30 PM ET
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)