The Raptors defeated the Celtics in their first preseason game last week 97-89, but it wasn’t as spectacular as it sounds. Dwane Casey‘s side gave up 25 turnovers.
It didn’t stop there. In their first four preseason games, the Raptors have given up at least 20 turnovers in three of them.
As Casey builds his side around defense once again, forcing turnovers out of their opponents will be their main focus, not the other way round.
Once the regular season starts, teams will be far less forgiving, and 20 turnovers a game will not cut it if the Raptors want to be in contention for the playoffs come April.
The second key to the win will be the ability to shut down the transition offense of the Celtics. Boston has some young athletes that love to run the floor. At the team’s Media Day last week, Casey emphasized the need for his side to improve their defense against the fast break from a year before.
The Raptors have a solid rotation defense, and if they challenge on the offensive boards and get back early, Boston will find it difficult to score.
Lastly, the second unit of the Raptors has performed well thus far by. Casey will look to the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Terence Ross and Steve Novak as a scoring punch and to contribute on both ends of the floor.
Many times last season the Raptors lost out in contests because their second unit lost too much ground on the opposing team. With the new additions this year, Casey will look to eliminate that problem.
The Raptors and Celtics are set to tip off tonight at 7:00pm at Air Canada Center in Toronto.