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Two teams in the thick of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference will go head-to-head when the Boston Celtics face off against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Entering the contest the Raptors sit second in the East while the Celtics are one spot (and 4.5 games) behind them in the third seed. 

The game will be the fourth of eight seeding games for Toronto, and the fifth for Boston. The Raptors have gone 3-0 in the bubble in Orlando thus far, while the Celtics have gone 2-2 after splitting their first four. The Celtics won two of the three contests between the two teams already this season, though the Raptors won the most recent contest in December. 

Ahead of their meeting on Friday night, here’s everything you need to know about Celtics vs. Raptors.      

How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, Aug. 7 — 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT
  • Odds: Raptors -2 | O/U: 220.5

Storylines

Celtics: The Celtics entered Orlando fully healthy — something that didn’t happen too often for them during the regular season. At full health, the Celtics are deep and dangerous. All eyes are on third-year forward Jayson Tatum, who is in the midst of developing into a full-blown superstar. Tatum will have his fair share of help, too, as Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker are all All-Star-caliber players when at the top of their respective games. Plus, in Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye, Boston possesses some solid frontcourt depth. Overall, the Celtics have every reason to feel like they could come out of the East this season, and they will get a solid test in the form of the Raptors on Friday.  

Raptors: The Raptors have one goal in Orlando: defend the NBA title that they won last season. No, they no longer have reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but Toronto still has a very solid squad with a ton of postseason experience. They are eager to prove that they can get the job done even without Leonard, and they will get a tough test in the Celtics on Friday night.  

Prediction

These are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, so this one has the potential to be a barn burner. So far though, the Raptors have been playing better ball in Orlando than the Celtics have. The Raptors have already pulled off impressive wins over the Lakers and Heat, while the Celtics lost to the Heat, and to the top-seeded Bucks. There is a bit of added motivation in this one for Toronto, too. With a win, they will officially eliminate the Celtics from contention for the second spot in the East, and thus claim it for themselves.  PickRaptors -2

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