Celtics bounce back with win over Raptors
Boston, MA – Jeff Green netted 20 points to lead a balanced Boston scoring attack that carried the Celtics to a 112-88 bounce-back win over the Toronto Raptors from TD Garden.
Six other Celtics reached double-figure points to help the team end a two-game skid that included an ugly 100-74 setback at doormat Charlotte on Tuesday. Paul Pierce added 15 points, with Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford contributing 12 each to the victory.
Rudy Gay paced the Raptors with 19 points, but went just 7-of-19 from the field and Toronto was outscored by a 63-48 margin after halftime en route to its 10th consecutive defeat at TD Garden.
DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross finished with 17 and 13 points, respectively, in the setback.
Boston took control of the contest early in the second quarter, outscoring the Raptors by a 16-6 stretch over a four-minute span to turn a three-point deficit into a 37-30 lead midway through the period. The margin grew to nine by halftime after Pierce drained a pull-up jumper just prior to the buzzer to send the Celtics into the locker room owning a 49-40 advantage.
"We came out and we threw the first punch tonight," said Celtics guard Courtney Lee. "Last night [Charlotte] caught us off guard a little bit and we didn't execute the way we usually do. Our defense sets, we lacked in a couple of them."
Toronto made a bid to get back into it in the third quarter, putting together a 9-0 run capped by a Jonas Valanciunas basket to pull to within 53-49 four minutes into the frame. The Raptors still trailed by four, 60-56, at the halfway mark of the period, before Boston dominated the remainder of the session.
The Celtics ripped off a 21-6 tear immediately afterward, with a Crawford layup followed by two made free throws from Green enabling the Celtics to enter the fourth quarter up by an 81-62 count.
Toronto shot just 37.5 percent for the session and was whistled for nine fouls, allowing Boston to go to the line 19 times and make 15 of those attempts.
"We had a four-point game in the third quarter and then we let frustration set in," said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. "We haven't been getting calls all year and that frustrates us, and we can't let it happen. But again, when a team turns it up like that, we have got to turn back our fire and get back into them. And I thought that was the difference in the game. They turned up the heat and we didn't respond."
The Celtics then continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, with the differential reaching 26 points after Green drove and scored with 5:24 to go for a 98-72 score.
Garnett passed Jerry West for 15th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list and now has 25,201 career points, with Pierce (23,763) overtaking Charles Barkley for 20th place in that category ... Pierce also climbed over Allen Iverson for 10th place in league history for free throws made after going 9- of-11 from the line. He has now hit 6,377 for his career ... The Raptors announced on Wednesday that forward Andrea Bargnani will miss the remainder of the season after spraining his right elbow against the Lakers last Friday ... Toronto hasn't left TD Garden with a win since a 114-112 decision on Jan. 23, 2008.