The NBA Playoffs have reached the conference semifinals stage, and both series in the Eastern Conference have already played two games. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors compete in one of these series, and the Celtics have been in complete control.
Boston won the series opener by a score of 112-94 and then held on for a 102-99 victory in Game 2. The Celtics are the number 3 seed in the East, but they look like title contenders.
Toronto is the defending NBA champion, but they are in some serious trouble heading into Game 3. The Raptors have overcome adversity throughout the entire season, but this will be their biggest test to date.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Toronto Raptors as 1.0-point favorites over the Boston Celtics in Game 3.
Raptors Must Find Offense
Toronto has been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this season, but their offense has struggled at times. The Raptors have struggled to score in this series, and that needs to change heading into Game 3.
The Raptors have yet to score at least 100 points in the first two games of the series, and their three-point shooting continues to be an issue. Fred VanVleet is one of the best shooters in the league, but he has struggled to find his range.
Pascal Siakam is clearly the best player for the Raptors, but he is averaging less than 19 points per game during the postseason. The Celtics have plenty of players that can match up with Siakam, and he has not been able to get to the basket.
Toronto’s defense has remained strong in this series, but it has not been good enough. The Raptors have had difficulty guarding the three-point line, which is another factor that must change in this game.
Forgotten Stars Carry Celtics
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two biggest stars for the Boston Celtics, but another dynamic duo led the Celtics to victory in Game 2. Boston doesn’t have a ton of depth, but their top six players are extremely effective.
Marcus Smart had five three-pointers in the fourth quarter in Game 2, and he is hard to stop when he gets going. Kemba Walker is a former All-Star in the league, and he was the player making all of the clutch shots late in the game.
Tatum poured in 34 points in the second win of the series, and he continues to get better. If Tatum and Brown are hitting their shots once again in Game 3, it could propel the Celtics to a commanding 3-0 series lead.
The Celtics allowed just 107.3 points per game this season, and they have taken that defense up a notch in this series. Boston is doing almost everything right, and they have a ton of momentum.
Raptors Climb Back Into Series
Even though the Boston Celtics have won the first two games of this series, both games have been extremely competitive. Boston comes into this game with momentum, but that can change in a hurry in the NBA Playoffs.
Toronto has been in this situation before, and they have responded well. Look for the Raptors to put together their best basketball game since the restart and find a way to climb back into this series.
Points will once again be hard to come by, but this time, the Toronto Raptors get just enough offense. The Raptors get back into this series and will set up a pivotal Game 4 this weekend.
Bet the Toronto Raptors -1.0 over the Boston Celtics in Game 3.