The Toronto Raptors are currently sitting at an 9-12 record so far this season. While they are not contending for a playoff spot at the moment, the team is 7-4 in their last 11 games and appearing to be moving upward after digging themselves out of the early hole they found themselves in.
While the Brooklyn Nets will undoubtedly give Toronto a world of problems on defense given their superstars in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, the unusually deep East can present a Toronto team that will likely have to slide into the playoffs as a low seed with a multitude of problems. These three heavyweights could all serve as brick walls Toronto might not be able to run through.
These are the three toughest playoff matchups the Toronto Raptors could face in the postseason
No. 3: Boston Celtics
Boston’s stars could make life difficult for the Toronto Raptors
The Celtics have perhaps the strongest overall starting five in the Eastern Conference outside of the Nets. However, what they have which the Nets do not is strong depth to go along with their big three in Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics have had some COVID issues this season, and have still been able to bounce back, holding their own at fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics and Raptors are very big on promoting from within. 2020 first-round draft selection Payton Pritchard has been lights out to begin the season, and Brown’s improvement has pushed him towards the elite tier of wings in the East.
The Raptors have had some significant improvements as well this season, such as Chris Boucher putting himself into Sixth Man of the Year contention and OG Anunoby’s consistent offensive improvement. However, the Raptors have not been as active in free agency, losing out on signing Canadian centre Tristan Thompson to these same Celtics.
This Celtics team is not nearly as paint dominant as the other Eastern Conference contenders, but they still pose significant challenges to deal with. The Celtics have just so many options on the perimeter the Raptors need to stop, as Walker remains a lethal scorer and Tatum is starting to become a superstar. Even though the Raptors have some excellent defenders, it will be difficult for them to match up on the offensive side of the ball if they get into a shootout.