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Friday game preview: Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics

TV: Sportsnet One

Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN

Probable starters: Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Jonas Valanciunas. Boston — Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum

Key players: Kyle Lowry/Kyrie Irving

After a hot start to the season, Lowry quieted down during Toronto’s three-game homestand, averaging 9.3 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 15.4 per cent from beyond the arc. He still led the league with 10.7 assists per game heading into Thursday’s play. Irving, who probably wouldn’t mind a veteran presence like Lowry’s on his team, is leading Boston with 20.7 points, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Need to know: The Celtics thumped the Chicago Bulls 111-82 on Wednesday night, a win the team hopes will provides a boost and help Boston jump higher than fourth in the Eastern Conference. Boston has made 189 three-pointers this season, good for second in the NBA, which accounts for 38.4 per cent of its points, so Toronto will need to shut them down on the perimeter and keep up from behind the arc at the other end of the court … The Raptors are shooting 33.9 per cent from three so far this season. Danny Green, who left Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons in the third quarter with lower back tightness, sounds like he doesn’t expect to miss any more time because of the injury and Serge Ibaka is expected to be available after missing that game with right knee soreness. Toronto will likely be without Norman Powell (shoulder) and C.J. Miles (adductor) … As is custom for the Raptors so far this season, Kawhi Leonard will likely sit out either Friday’s game against the Celtics or Saturday’s game against the Bulls; he has yet to play back-to-back this season … Boston leads the league with a defensive rating of 101, compared to the Raptors’ seventh-place rating of 107.

Up next: Saturday vs. Bulls in Chicago, 8 p.m.

Laura Armstrong is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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