Celtics 91, Raptors 82

Preview | Box Score | Recap

TORONTO (AP)—As poorly as the Boston Celtics played, it was good enough to hand the injury-riddled Toronto Raptors a ninth straight loss.

Paul Pierce scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Celtics beat the Raptors 91-82 Sunday. Jiri Welsch added 15 points for Boston, which ended a seven-game losing streak with a victory over Toronto on Friday.

“I don’t think it was pretty,” Boston coach John Carroll said. “We were playing extremely poorly, but every time we looked up, we were down by two, down three, down four, so I told our guys that the rule in the NBA is, ‘Win by one.”’

Milt Palacio had a season-high 19 points and eight assists for the Raptors, who are in danger of falling out of playoff contention because of injuries to Vince Carter, Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams.

“I’ve never lost nine games in a row before,” Toronto rookie Chris Bosh said. “We’re really struggling. They just got us when we’re down.”

Dion Glover, signed by the Raptors on Saturday, went 5-for-16 from the field for 13 points. Atlanta waived Glover on Feb. 25, after he asked to be released.

Asked how he would rate his performance, Glover gave himself a C or D.

“If I didn’t have a couple of turnovers at the end, we would have won,” Glover said.

Boston’s Chucky Atkins sparked an 11-3 run with a 3-pointer, and Brandon Hunter capped it with a dunk, giving Boston an 81-73 lead with 3:44 remaining.

Morris Peterson’s layup cut Boston’s lead to three with just under three minutes left, but Hunter made a layup, Glover turned the ball over by stepping out of bounds, and Pierce scored six straight points to put the game away.

Pierce’s tough fadeaway jumper over Peterson gave Boston a 87-80 lead with 37 seconds left.

“We finally have our confidence after a couple of wins,” said Pierce, whose team still has a shot at the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference.

“It would mean everything to make the playoffs. We’ve been written off by everybody, especially after all the trades and when our coach stepped down. It would be like redemption.”

The Celtics are in ninth place in the East, one game behind Toronto and Miami.

Boston shot 52 percent, compared to 38 percent for Toronto. Five Celtics reached double figures in scoring.

Mark Blount had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Notes

Boston beat Toronto 88-75 Friday. … Glover averaged 10.1 points and 4.3 rebounds with Atlanta. … Carter missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle. He was eligible to come off the injured list. Rose has four broken bones in his left hand and isn’t expected back soon. Williams isexpected to miss a month after right knee surgery.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Boston
J. Welsch J. Welsch
5-7,  15 Pts
5 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Toronto
M. Palacio M. Palacio
7-12,  19 Pts
4 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists