The first weekend of the 2018-2019 NBA season gets underway with a showdown of last season’s top two teams in the Eastern Conference regular season, per Basketball Reference. The Boston Celtics travel north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors, with both teams featuring new superstars on their roster for the game that will live stream from Scotiabank Arena.
In the 2017 offseason, the Celtics acquired 28-year-old Gordon Hayward in a sign-and-trade deal with the Jazz, as NBA.com records. But Hayward missed the entire season after suffering a violent ankle injury in the opening minutes of 2017’s opening game for Boston. He finally returned to the Celtics lineup in this year’s opener on Tuesday, tossing in 10 points in just over 24 minutes as the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in a rematch of last season’s NBA East semifinals, per Basketball Reference.
For Toronto, who fell to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the other East semifinal series, former San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard made his Raptors debut on Wednesday, against the now James-less Cavaliers. Leonard poured in 24 for his new team, the Basketball Reference box score shows. Leonard and Hayward will meet for the first time in their new uniforms Friday night.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors Eastern Conference early-season showdown, see the streaming information at the bottom of this article. The NBA matchup gets underway at 8 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, October 19. That start time is 5 p.m. PT. In the United Kingdom, that tipoff time will be 1 a.m. British Summer Time on Saturday morning, October 20.
The Celtics and Raptors are expected to battle all season long for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and could even be destined to face off in the conference finals this season. That makes Friday’s game the first significant test of the new season for both teams — but even more so for the Celtics, who suffered a pair of one-sided defeats, by 20 points and 18 points, on their Canadian swings last season, the Boston Herald recounts.
“It’s going to be special. It’s great to go through challenges like this at the beginning of the season — on the road against Toronto,” Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving said. “But now that they have a veteran group, a veteran starting five with Danny Green, Kawhi and obviously Serge (Ibaka) and now the young guy, (Pascal) Siakam, and OG Anunoby coming off the bench, I mean, those guys are lethal when they get up and down.”
To watch a free live stream of the crucial Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors NBA Eastern Conference showdown, log in to WatchESPN, the online platform offered by the ESPN networks. Note that WatchESPN requires login credentials from a cable or satellite provider.
Another way to watch the pivotal Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors NBA game with a free live stream but without a cable subscription, is for fans to sign up for a free trial of one of the “over the top” streaming TV packages, such as Sling TV, or YouTube TV, or DirecTV Now. All of those services require credit card information and will charge subscription fees. But they each offer a seven-day free trial period, and if the subscription is canceled prior to the expiration of that weeklong trial, fans can watch the Celtics vs. Raptors game, the second of the new NBA campaign for both teams, live stream for free.
To watch the Celtics-Raptors game live stream in the United Kingdom, the best and only option is NBA League Pass, which carries a subscription fee — though for the first week of the 2018-2019 NBA Season, all games, including the Boston-Toronto matchup, will be offered for free.