The Boston Celtics will try to avenge an ugly loss Wednesday night when they welcome their Atlantic Division rivals, the Toronto Raptors, to TD Bank Garden.
The Celtics lost in Charlotte on Tuesday night, 100-74, to the lowly Bobcats. The Charlotte win snapped a 10-game losing streak for them and sent the Celtics into a two-game slide.
Head coach Doc Rivers gave Paul Pierce the night off and the C's never responded. They trailed by three at the half, then 15 after three quarters and lost by 26, which was their most lopsided setback since a 29-point drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 27.
"We approached the game with the wrong mentality," Rivers said. "We laid an egg. We could never get it started. They played really hard. We just couldn't match how hard they played tonight for whatever reason. That's on me. That's disappointing that I couldn't get that out of our guys. They were clearly so much more competitive than us the entire night."
Jeff Green, who started in place of Pierce Wednesday, and Jordan Crawford paced the Celtics with 14 points apiece. Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley had 10 each.
The Celtics are five back of the New York Knicks for first in the Atlantic Division, three behind the Brooklyn Nets for fourth in the Eastern Conference and one back of the Chicago Bulls for the fifth seed.
The Raptors returned home from a four-game road trip with a 100-96 victory on Sunday over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rudy Gay didn't play with back spasms and the team traveled through the night the night before, but Toronto, led by a pep talk at halftime, came out on top.
"Play with pride, he didn't want us to go out there and say 'Whatever, we lose, we lose,'" Kyle Lowry said of the head coach Dwane Casey's speech. "The team responded really well."
The Raptors were down nine points at halftime, but won the third quarter by 14 and hung on in the final frame for the victory, which was the second in their last three games.
"It was like day and night, and I expected it just because of the schedule," Casey said of the first half. "Guys were groggy coming in, time change, whatever, we had every (excuse) to mail in this game."
The Raptors were also without Andrea Bargnani, but got balanced scoring. Alan Anderson led the way with 18 off the bench, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
Lowry, Terrance Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson also scored in double figures.
The Celtics have won both of this season's matchups with Toronto, but are 1-2 in their last three outings up north.