Raptors win finale, beat Celtics

Gavin Day, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TORONTO - While the Toronto Raptors wanted to give their long-suffering fans a good memory heading into the off-season, the Boston Celtics were just hoping nothing unfortunate happened as they prepare for the playoffs.
Ultimately, a massive third quarter by the Raptors propelled them to a 114-90 blowout victory over the Celtics on Wednesday in the final game of the regular season for both teams.
"Nothing," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers when asked what he got out of this game. "I wanted to win still. I think you try to win whenever you have guys. I thought a couple of our guys didn't handle the minutes well. But at least they got to play."
The Raptors outscored the Celtics 37-21 in the third quarter after having a 10-point lead at halftime. The onslaught included eight 3-pointers, and DeMar DeRozan scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the third.
"There are so many positives. I see so much growth," said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, who pointed out the improvement of a number of players over the year. "Do we have some things to improve on? Yes. Each individual knows what they have to improve on. I think we are making the right steps."
Boston's Jeff Green had opened the scoring in the second half with a jumper but the Raptors responded with a 13-0 run.
Jordan Crawford led the way for Boston with 16 points. The Celtics played without Kevin Gernett and Jason Terry, who were being rested, and they also missed Shavlik Randolph for the second half because he had a sore back.
The game meant little in the standings, but it did represent a big accomplishment for Green, who missed the entire 2011-2012 season following heart surgery.
"I'm truly blessed. Coming from heart surgery to come back and play every game and play the way I did," Green said. "I got better as the year went along. That was all I wanted."
While the Raptors ended a sixth straight season without a playoff berth, they closed the season in style, drawing a standing ovation from the home crowd, which perhaps feel some optimism that Toronto ended the season on a five-game winning streak.
Boston, meanwhile, already had seventh place in the Eastern Conference secured and mainly wanted to avoid injuries heading into the post-season.
Boston scored the first basket of the second quarter to take the lead by one but the Raptors controlled the rest of the quarter.
An 8-0 run put the Raptors up by nine near the halfway mark of the quarter at 46-37. Terrence Williams ended the run with a layup with 5:40 remaining.
Toronto's lead grew to 14 points before Boston scored the final four points of the half to reduce the deficit to 59-49 at halftime.
The teams traded the lead and had three ties in the opening four minutes. Eventually Rudy Gay hit a 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining to put the Raptors up by seven points.
"I see a team that has got a lot better since I've been here," admitted Gay, who was traded to Toronto from the Memphis Grizzlies in January. "This team has great bones. I've seen it. We have a lot of potential and have a lot of good pieces."
NOTES: Wednesday's game was the Celtics' first since the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Both teams congregated at the center of the court for a moment of silence prior to the game. ... Casey prefaced his pregame news conference by saying a few words of support to the city of Boston after the incident. "My condolences and the organization's condolences go out to their city and fans," said Casey. "It's sad when the world is that way, but the good thing about sports is hopefully you can forget evil and bad-doers and come together in sports." ... Andrea Bargnani (right elbow) and Terrence Ross (left ankle) were unavailable for Toronto. Rajon Rondo (right knee) and Jared Sullinger (back) were out for the Celtics. ... The Celtics were looking to clinch a sweep of the season series between the clubs. Boston won the previous three meetings.