Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors evened their best-of-7 series with the Boston Celtics on Saturday with a 100-93 win. Photo by @Raptors (Twitter).

  • The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors play Game 5 of their East Semifinals playoff series on Monday (Sept. 3, 6:40 pm EST)
  • After falling behind 0-2, Toronto won Games 3 and 4
  • See below for a betting preview and prediction for Game 5

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Toronto Raptors dropped the first two games of a playoff series only to rebound and win Games 3 and 4.

Much like their Conference Finals series versus Milwaukee in 2019, Toronto has erased an 0-2 deficit against the Boston Celtics this year and now head into Game 5 on Monday (Sept. 7, 6:40 pm EST) with all the momentum.

Celtics vs Raptors Game 5 Odds

Team Spread at FanDuel Moneyline Total
Boston Celtics +1 (-108) +100 Over 212.5 (-110)
Toronto Raptors -1 (-112) -118 Under 212.5 (-110)

Odds taken Sept. 5th.

The defending champs opened as 1-point favorites in the Celtics vs Raptors odds, in a game that features a total of 212.5. Toronto covered as a short favorite in Game 4 and the contests went under the total for the fourth straight game this series. The under is actually 6-2 in Raps playoff games in 2020, and nine of the past 10 Celtics games overall have failed to eclipse the total.

Clamping Down on the Celts

Saturday’s Game 4 victory marked the sixth time in 16 Bubble games that Toronto has held its opponent below 100 points. The Raps rank fourth in the playoffs in points allowed per game and second in opponent field goal percentage. They held Boston to 20% from 3-point range, and neutralized Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics shooting guard was 4-of-18 from the field and a team worst -14. Only three Boston players reached double-figures, compared to five Raptors.

Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam paced the offense, scoring 22 and 23 points respectively, while Fred VanVleet chipped in 17. Serge Ibaka was instrumental off the bench, knocking down 7-of-9 shots, including all four from 3.

Toronto once again kept its rotation extremely tight, as only eight players saw the floor. Lowry, Siakam and VanVleet each played at least 44 minutes, and have now played 40+ in three straight outings.

Walker Was a No-Show

In the first three games of the series, Kemba Walker played a pivotal role. He was a threat to score every time he touched the ball, and was extremely efficient from the field. However on Saturday, he was very passive shooting only nine times.

The 30-year-old finished with just 15 points, his lowest total of the 2020 postseason, and after the game called his performance “unacceptable”. With Gordon Hayward on the shelf, and Brown struggling, Boston needed Walker to step up but he was nowhere to be found. That put even more stress on the shoulders of Jayson Tatum, who responded with 24 points and 10 boards, but you’re not going to upset the reigning champs with only one of your key offensive pieces firing on all cylinders.

Hayward isn’t expected back in the lineup anytime soon, and if Walker doesn’t respond in Game 5, this series could be over in a hurry.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

This series has been a low scoring grind and there’s no reason to think Game 5 will be much different. These are two of the best defensive teams remaining and both Boston and Toronto will make each other earn every single basket.

As mentioned, all four games of this series have stayed under the total, and just two of the Celtics last nine games have exceeded a total of 212. The Raptors meanwhile, have seen 12 of their 16 Bubble games go under and Game 5 should follow suit.

Pick: Under 212.5 (-110)

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