(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Boston Celtics try to discover some consistency when they open a three-game road trip Saturday north of the border against the Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics will make stops in Detroit and Cleveland as well, and are 15-22 on the road this season. They have won three straight as the visitor.
Boston sits a half-game behind Miami for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference and trails Brooklyn by only 1 1/2 games for the No. 7 spot. The Celtics are just a game ahead of Indiana and 1 1/2 games in front of Charlotte.
In Friday's 110-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden, O.J. Mayo led the visitors with 24 points off the bench and Isaiah Thomas countered with 23 points in a reserve role for Boston, which shot 44.3 percent and received 17 points apiece from Avery Bradley and Jonas Jerebko.
The Bucks made 53 percent of their shots and had seven players with 10 or more points. Boston had won nine of its last 14 games.
"I didn't think we were able to keep up with them defensively, pretty much all night after the first six minutes," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.
Celtics forward Jared Sullinger played for the first time since Feb. 11. He was initially ruled out for the remainder of the season after breaking a bone in his left foot and played three minutes, going 0-for-2 from the floor with one rebound.
The Raptors hope one of their key pieces returns soon, as All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry is out with a balky back.
Toronto could have used Lowry in Friday's 114-109 loss to the red-hot Nets and was led by DeMar DeRozan's 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Lou Williams provided 23 points off the bench and Jonas Valanciunas netted 21 with nine rebounds in defeat.
Deron Williams and Brook Lopez scored 31 and 30 points, respectively, for the Nets. Lopez added 17 boards and D-Will handed out 11 assists.
An exciting fourth quarter that contained nine lead changes saw the teams knotted at 109-109 when DeRozan stuck a baseline jumper with 36.9 seconds to play. Williams couldn't get a short runner to fall on the other end, but Thaddeus Young was in perfect position to tip in the miss and record the eventual game-winner.
DeRozan misfired on the ensuing possession and Young pushed the rebound out to Joe Johnson, who was fouled from behind by DeRozan and hit the sealing two free throws with just 9.6 seconds on the clock.
"We were in the right place, right position, (but) you've got to end it with a rebound," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said of the final stretch. "For all the good we did, some of the stops we had, (in) the situations that we had you've got to go in and clean up the boards. The last couple plays were indicative of that."
The Atlantic-champion Raptors had won three in a row and are one game behind Chicago for the East's third seed. Washington is two games behind Toronto.
Toronto is 26-13 at Air Canada Centre and will start a four-game road trip Wednesday against Charlotte, Orlando, Miami and Boston.
The Raptors are 2-0 against the Celtics this season and the Atlantic Division foes will meet again April 14 in Beantown. Toronto has won four in a row and six of the past seven games in this series.
Boston is winless in four straight trips to Canada.