|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , October 25, 2019
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts Attendance: 18,624
Celtics face tall order in home opener vs. Raptors
The Boston Celtics will debut their new-look lineup at home for the first time when they host the defending champion Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
The Celtics kicked off the new season with a 107-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, a game in which prized free agent acquisition Kemba Walker scored just 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting from the field. Boston struggled as a whole on offense, hitting 36.7 percent of its shots and getting outscored 58-45 in the second half.
"I thought I got my shots, the shots I normally take," Walker said. "I feel like I got to my spots, I just missed."
The task doesn't get any easier against the Raptors, who won their home opener 130-122 in overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.
Toronto has won seven of the 12 meetings between the two Atlantic Division clubs since the 2016-17 season, though it has dropped the last five in Boston.
Gone this season are four of the top seven scorers from last year's Celtics team: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Al Horford and Terry Rozier. In their absence, youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are being counted on to step up, as is X-factor Gordon Hayward.
Hayward averaged 11.5 points per game primarily coming off the bench in 2018-19, his first season back from a devastating leg injury sustained during his first game as a Celtic in 2017. Back in the starting rotation, Hayward scored 25 on Wednesday to pace the team, ahead of Tatum's 21.
"I think there's a lot of things we can improve on, but I think we did some good things as well," Hayward said. "We'll look at the film ... certainly a lot to learn from."
The Raptors also have a notably different look, marked largely by the absence of NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard, who joined the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. A pair of 25-year-olds -- Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet -- stepped up in the win over the Pelicans by scoring 34 points apiece.
"Pascal and Freddy, they are the young core, they are the guys who will carry this thing on," guard Kyle Lowry said. "I'm so happy for those guys to go out and perform like tonight. We'll see them grow all year."
VanVleet's 34 points were a career high, and Siakam added 18 rebounds. Toronto played with a short bench, running just eight players on the court.
"There was a noticeable lack of energy just in the locker room," coach Nick Nurse said. "We had to do what we had to do. We had to reach into our bag of tricks there a little bit to mix it up, try to generate some turnovers, things like that. I don't know, just take 'em in this league when you can get 'em, especially if you don't play that well."
Celtics big man Enes Kanter will miss Friday's game after sustaining a left knee contusion against the Sixers.
Raptors forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) and Patrick McCaw (knee) are both probable after missing Tuesday's opener.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 24, 2019