4 things to watch for in Celtics-Raptors showdown

(Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The first showdown of the year between the Celtics' biggest threat in the Eastern Conference deserves some extra attention. Let's take a closer look at a few areas to watch ahead of the nationally televised matchup on Friday night.

1. A new starting look for the Raptors? Toronto has the bulk to match up big upfront with Jonas Valancunias but they too seem to be trending towards small ball on a regular basis with their starters. New head coach Nick Nurse hinted that the Raptors would be going with a different lineup than opening night. Part of that is likely including OG Anunoby in the starting five (he was inactive due to injury against the Cavs) in place of Pascal Siakam, but the bigger shift would be starting Serge Ibaka over Valacunias. The veteran forward has been a pest in pressuring Al Horford all over the floor in recent matchups and the guess here is the Raptors want to keep that pattern will creating an incredibly versatile defensive lineup 1-5.