Celtics-Raptors Preview

The Associated Press

While the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon are still fresh in their minds, the Boston Celtics will try to shift their attention back to the court.

In its final tuneup before the playoffs, visiting Boston goes for a four-game season sweep of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

The Celtics (41-39) will only play 81 games this season after Tuesday's matchup against Indiana was canceled in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

"Out of respect to all of the people who were affected by this, the families, we felt like it's just not circumstances we wanted to play under and felt it would be the best way for us as an organization to show our respects to all of the people who are impacted by this," team president Rich Gotham told the Celtics' official website.

"I just think it was more of an emotional decision to try to do what's right and respect the families and understand that people might not want to be out."

With Indiana and Boston locked into the Eastern Conference's No. 3 and 7 seeds, Tuesday's cancellation won't have any impact on the standings.

"It would have been very difficult," forward Shavlik Randolph said of going through with the game."Obviously, I don't think anyone's thinking about basketball at a time like this. It absolutely puts things in perspective. At this time you have to think about the people that were affected, the people that were hurt by that. That's what's important."

The Celtics, who figure to come out with heavy hearts Wednesday, have taken 20 of 24 matchups from the Raptors (33-48), including all three this season by an average of 15.3 points. It's unclear, though, how coach Doc Rivers plans to use Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with a first-round matchup against New York just around the corner. Both players have dealt with injuries over the last few weeks.

"It's a fine line between rest and health," Pierce said. "Right now we're as healthy as we're gonna be for the rest of the season. ... The most important thing is that we're ready for the playoffs."

One night after missing Friday's 109-101 loss at Miami, Garnett and Pierce returned Saturday as the Celtics posted their highest point total this season in a 120-88 rout at Orlando. Courtney Lee scored a season high-tying 20 to lead seven players in double figures for Boston, which shot 59.3 percent. Garnett added 14 on 7-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds in just 19 minutes while Pierce scored 12 to go along with eight assists and six boards.

The Raptors are coming off their fourth straight win and sixth in seven games, 113-96 at Atlanta on Tuesday. DeMar DeRozan continued his impressive play with 30 points and Rudy Gay scored 22 for Toronto, which shot 51.3 percent.

"We're playing freely. We're going out there and not thinking so much, playing with our abilities and instincts," DeRozan said. "We've got a lot of talent on this team. When we play like we played tonight, we're tough to beat."

DeRozan is averaging 23.9 points - 5.9 more than his season mark - on 55.0 percent shooting during Toronto's 6-1 run. He has, however, been limited to 13.3 per game on 38.5 percent shooting against Boston this season.

Toronto most recently won a season high-tying five straight Feb. 8-19. The Raptors haven't been swept by the Celtics since 2009-10.

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