Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors clawing for No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

Five Keys Cavaliers vs. Raptors   
    
      
  Mark Blinch  NBAE via Getty Images

As they head into this game, they have the best two records in the Eastern Conference and will be the top two seeds. Both teams have six games remaining on their schedules. The Cavs sit just a half game ahead of the streaking 76ers for third place.

The Raptors pulled away, only for the Celtics to claw back, over and over. Boston is seeking to grab the top seed in the conference after losing in the conference title round a season ago.

Boston made nine turnovers in the second, leading to 17 points for Toronto, as the Raptors rallied behind six points from Wright to lead 43-33 at halftime.

The Cavs' defense also successfully shut down the Raptors' offense, with Kyle Lowry restricted to just five points from his 28 minutes on court. A Cavaliers loss could dramatically impact their playoff positioning as the season draws to a close.

Troubling times are upon the Toronto Raptors and they are running out of days to figure things out. He would finish with a near double-double of eight points, nine rebounds and eight assists along with two steals and two blocked shots. Kyle Lowry only chipped in 13 but also had five rebounds and five assists. That's not an indictment of Irving as much as it's a credit to Boston's depth, young players, coaching, and most of all, its league-best defence.

Toronto is a team that not many people believe can realistically contend for a championship and these past 10 games are proving the doubters right.

Sefolosha is recovering from right knee surgery and will begin his suspension in the next regular-season or playoff game when he is eligible and physically able to play. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are having huge seasons for Boston.

Cleveland ranks 15th in second chance points allowed per game (12.7) while Toronto ranks 25th (13.3).

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A team that rattles off five straight victories feels like it can match up with any in the league, while one that loses five straight finds even the weakest of opponents to be a challenge. Each of them was defensible, given game situation, the matchup problems created by Boston's length on the wing and the need to break the zone, but Casey couldn't have been happy to abandon his typically rigid rotation in the crucial moments of an important game.

The Raptors and Cavs have split the first two games against each other this season. Offensively the team played fine, shooting 48-percent from the field and scoring 26 points as a team. Their weakest areas are steals per game (#16), three point percentage (#16) and offensive rebounds per game (#15).

We are really looking forward to this game. If we do - it will be in the Eastern Conference Finals.

"To be a good team, that's how you've got to respond", DeRozan said. Those are all questions for the future.

In the opening minutes of that fourth quarter, Toronto had the opportunity to make it a one-possession game, but its turnover was instead converted into a Cleveland basket.

The Cleveland side (48-30) now look in good stead ahead of the National Basketball Association playoffs with just four games remaining in what has been a mixed and testing regular season.

Toronto increased its lead over second-place Boston to three games. Get your 100% signup bonus today.

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