Raptors 93, Celtics 87

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Having not played in a week thanks to their final preseason game being cancelled because of dangerous court conditions, the Toronto Raptors opened their season with a 93-87 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

Raptors forward Rudy Gay felt that time off might have contributed to some rustiness in his team.

But the Raptors shook it off and, with Gay leading the way with 19 points.

"It was the first game of the season and we're coming off a whole week without playing," Gay said. "So I think we were a little rusty at the beginning. We shook the rust off and came back."

DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson, who was playing his 300th game for the Raptors, each chipped in with 13 points. Kyle Lowry had 11 points and eight assists while Jonas Valanciunas had 11 rebounds with eight points.

Jeff Green led the Celtics with 25 points while Brandon Bass added 17 and Vitor Faverani 13. Kris Humphries had nine rebounds and eight points for Boston.

"We had some sloppy moments but a lot of them were out of effort," Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens said. "A lot of them while we were flying down the court at two levels too fast and we made a few errors. But you know you can live with a few errors like that, you can live with errors when you are playing hard."

The Celtics overcame a 16-point disadvantage early in the third quarter to take a 74-71 lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter on Green's three-pointer.

But the Raptors came back to lead 82-78 when Johnson hit a 27-foot three point shot with 6:20 to play.

"It was a big shot," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Amir is one of those guys who does so many things. That three was one of them. But just his rebounds, his defensive intensity. He gets it done."

After Avery Bradley missed a shot for Boston, Gay hit a 17-foot jumper with 4:26 to play and it was 84-78 for the Raptors. Gay hit another jumper to bump the lead to eight, and DeRozan came back with a bucket to give the Raptors a 10-point lead with 2:32 left in regulation.

But Casey feels the Raptors have some work to do because he saw too many things Wednesday that would be disastrous against good defensive teams.

"Too many one-handed passes, too many one-on-ones," he said. "Good defensive teams will shake that out. We have to get the ball moving."

"We fought," Green said. "We fought, it didn't matter how many we were down. We were down by 15 but we came back and got back into the game. We tied the game and then we took the lead. But we had a few costly turnovers that set us back. But as long as we keep fighting I think we'll be in a lot of games."

The Celtics led 26-21 after the first quarter, shooting 65 percent from the field while holding the Raptors to 39 percent.

The Raptors tied it early in the second quarter at 26 on a 24-foot three-point shot by Steve Novak. Landry Fields gave the Raptors a 30-28 lead on a hook shot with 8:14 left in the half. The Raptors led 49-37 at the half when Terrence Ross hit a three-pointer from the corner as time expired.

Gay led the Raptors with eight points in the first half while Faverani led the Celtics with 13 points in the half, nine in the first quarter.

The Raptors bumped their lead to 16 points four minutes into the third quarter on a dunk by Valanciunas.

The Celtics trimmed their deficit to 65-58 with 3:12 to play in the third after Humphries made one of two free throws. Green hit a 3-pointer to cut Toronto's lead to three with 48 seconds to go, and Bass tied the game at 71 for the Celtics at the end of the third quarter on a put-back dunk.

"At the end of the day we didn't do everything perfect," Stevens said. "I didn't coach the perfect game but I think we can all rest assured we have a team that will fight, that will compete and if we can just shore up a couple of mistakes we might come out on the other end."

NOTES: Lowry is playing with an injured tendon in his left ring finger. He was hurt Oct. 23 in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Lowry will play and practice with a splint for about six weeks with no loss of game time expected. ... The Celtics started Faverani with F Jared Sullinger not making the trip with team because of a domestic-violence charge that was dismissed Monday. ... The Celtics will open their home schedule with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. ... The Raptors will go on the road for two games in a row, playing the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and visiting the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday before returning home to play the NBA champion Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments