Will Jayson Tatum Play Tonight? Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors: Lineup, Predictions & Injury Report

Published 01/04/2021, 4:30 PM EST
BOSTON MA. – OCTOBER 25: Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics drives into OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors as the Celtics take on the Raptors in the second half at the Garden on October 25, 2019 in Boston, MA. The Celtics won the game 112-106. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


The Toronto Raptors take on the Boston Celtics in a repeat of last season’s Playoffs Battle in the Bubble. While the Celtics are taking the baton from 2020, the Raptors increasingly look like a powerhouse of the yesteryear.

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Toronto Raptors – Preview

The Raptors lie 14th in the Eastern Conference table with just a single win to their name out of five games played. But what is causing this sudden downfall in form from their previous Playoff-laden seasons?

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First and foremost, it is the unrelenting poor form of Pascal Siakam. He is carrying over his struggle from the Bubble to the 2020-21 NBA season, unlike Paul George. In the four games that he has played, he is averaging just 16.5 points with a measly 39.5% FG in 35.3 minutes.

Dec 29, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) controls the ball against Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Secondly, the decision to let go of veteran centers, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, in free agency is haunting them. They were the backbone of this team, both on and off the court. Playing away in Tampa, Florida is not helping their cause either.

So this game provides them with a source of motivation. Beating the Celtics might be the push they need to kick-start their NBA campaign.

Predicted Starting 5 for the Raptors

Guard – Kyle Lowry

GuardFred VanVleet

Center – Aron Baynes

Forward – Pascal Siakam

Forward – OG Anunoby

Boston Celtics – Preview

This off-season saw some changes in the team. The much-maligned negativity around Gordon Hayward left Boston with him while Jayson Tatum was handed a well-deserved Super-max extension by the front office. They also snapped Tristan Thompson in free agency.

Although they came out of the blocks slowly, they are beginning to find their rhythm. And the vastly underrated Jaylen Brown has been leading the charge with 28.0 points and 1.7 steals inside 34 minutes. This places them 6th in the standings as of now.

Since it is a back-to-back, Brad Stevens may be tempted to rest Tatum from this encounter. They have already played 7 games in a gap of 10 days.

Predicted starting 5 for the Celtics

Guard – Marcus Smart

Guard – Jaylen Brown

Center – Daniel Theis

Forward – Tristan Thompson

Forward – Jayson Tatum

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Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics – Predictions

To the average NBA fan who has a peak at the table, Celtics may look like a no-brainer to emerge victorious in this contest. However, the Raptors have made a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat with coach Nick Nurse at the helm.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics with ball during the Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena on October 19, 2018 in Toronto, Canada (Toronto Raptors win 113-101) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

You can never count them out as most of the starters tasted championship success just a season ago. While the Celtics will look to continue their ascent up the table, don’t discount the Raptors from coming away with an unlikely win.

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Bharat Aggarwal

753 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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