Raptors 95, Celtics 86
BOSTON (AP)—A confident Toronto Raptors team could be very dangerous in a wide-open Atlantic Division.
“It gives us confidence because we know we can win the bad games. I think that will give us more confidence when we’re playing great,” Bosh said. “When we start playing good, I think we can really give people a lot of trouble.”
The Raptors took command with a 16-6 run to close out the third quarter for a 67-58 lead. A 3-pointer by Andrea Bargnani gave the Raptors a 54-52 lead. Bosh scored 10 in the quarter and six during the run.
“We weren’t playing the way we wanted to,” Bosh said of the team’s first half effort. “Shots weren’t falling for us and in the third quarter we just kind of regrouped. We really needed this game so we got back together and did the simple thing that got us the lead.”
Rajon Rondo scored 23 points to lead the Celtics, losers of three straight and 10 of their last 12. Sebastain Telfair had 14 points, Gerald Green added 13, Allan Ray 11 points. Leon Powe had 12 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench for the Celtics, who dropped to a league-worst 4-13 at home.
The Celtics—playing without leading scorers Paul Pierce and Wally Szczberiak, as well as Brian Scalabrine and Delonte West—dressed only nine players. Still, they kept the game close into the third quarter, even taking a 52-51 lead on Al Jefferson’s hook shot.
“I was proud of the effort,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought everyone who came in really helped. They got a couple threes late that really broke the game open but, overall, (I was) really happy with the effort of our guys.”
Boston played stingy defense, limiting Bosh to nine points and holding him without a field goal for nearly the first 17 minutes. Offensively, the Celtics got major contributions from seldom-used rookies Powe—five offensive rebounds and eight boards total in the first half—and Ray, who scored all of his 11 points in the second quarter.
“What we’ve got to do is just go out there and compete, play hard and try to win some games,” Celtics forward Ryan Gomes said. “I know we’re short-handed right now, but we’re all here to play. We want to play and guys are getting the opportunity now.”
: Celtics guard Tony Allen, who was lost for the season on Wednesday night when he tore the ACL, medial meniscus and lateral meniscus in his left knee, will undergo surgery on Saturday morning at New England Baptist Hospital. … With injuries to Pierce and Szczerbiak, the Celtics’ elder statesman amongst their starters was 24-year-old Gomes. … Since returning to the lineup after missing 10 games in December, Bosh has scored at least 20 points in five of six contests.