Celtics-Raptors preview: Lee finally finding his groove

Celtics-Raptors preview: Lee finally finding his groove
April 17, 2013, 11:30 am
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TORONTO — Courtney Lee should have no concerns about his role in the Boston Celtics' playoff rotation, so from that standpoint tonight's game at Toronto will do nothing for him.

But for a player who is just starting to snap out of what has been a season full of offensive struggles, this game affords him another opportunity to stay in a good shooting rhythm that he hopes will continue on in the playoffs.

In his last two games, Lee has averaged 19 points per game while shooting 57.7 percent from the field -- his best back-to-back shooting performances all season. And if he hits double figures tonight, it will mark just the third time all season he scored 10 or more points in three consecutive games.

"I feel like I got my rhythm now," Lee said. "It took all year to come, but I'm glad it's here."

The timing could not be any better, with the playoffs just around the corner.

"You see the ball go in a couple times, you get confidence, you get comfortable," Lee said.

A strong scoring night by Lee could be a factor in tonight's outcome as the C's try to close out the regular season on a winning note. Here are some other keys to tonight's game to keep an eye on.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: With this being the final regular season game for both teams, there's no telling what kind of lineup Doc Rivers will toss out there. Expect a heavy dose of Terrence Williams, D.J. White, Jordan Crawford and the rest of the C's bench players.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs. Amir Johnson. Bass continues to improve in all phases of his game, having tallied at least 10 points in every game this month. The Raptors aren't going anywhere this season, but Johnson's play is among the reasons Toronto feels good about its future. He ranks in the league's top-10 in field goal percentage, and averages a near double-double (12.2 points, 9.5 rebounds) as a starter.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Having to deal with an explosive scorer like Rudy Gay is an ideal tune-up for what Jeff Green will have to contend with in the first round of the playoffs against the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. As much as keeping a player like Gay from going off, Green must also make him work at the other end of the floor -- something he doesn't do enough of against the elite players he's matched up against.

STAT TO TRACK: Toronto comes in having won six of its last seven games and four in a row, with all four victories over playoff-bound teams. Part of Toronto's strong play of late has been limiting opponents scoring in transition. In the last seven games, the Raptors are giving up 11.4 fast-break points which ranks seventh in the NBA in the last seven games. Right ahead of them in that seven-game span? That would be the Celtics who have limited teams to just 11.1 fast-break points over the same period of time.