(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will try to snap a four-game losing streak Saturday night when they welcome their Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Celtics, to Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors lost the last three games on a western road trip, then came home and fell to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night. Toronto fell into a tie for third in the Eastern Conference, but still owns an 8 1/2-game lead in the division.
On Thursday, Kyle Lowry recorded 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Toronto in a 103-95 home loss to the Hornets. The loss snapped a five- game home winning streak for the Raptors.
Lou Williams chipped in 15 points off the bench, followed by 11 from Greivis Vasquez. Jonas Valanciunas added 10 and six rebounds, but the starting forward combination of Landry Fields and Amir Johnson combined for five points.
The Hornets took a nine-point lead after three quarters, but the Raptors fought.
Patrick Patterson's tip-in whittled the deficit to 99-95 with 42.3 seconds left. Charlotte's Kemba Walker, however, nailed a back-breaking, step-back left wing jumper at the other end with the shot clock winding down to essentially seal the outcome.
"We've got to find seven or eight guys interested in competing at that high level," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
The Raptors still have the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans left on this homestand.
Boston's three-game road trip comes to an end Saturday. It opened the trip with a win at Brooklyn, but was dealt a 107-103 overtime loss against Indiana last night.
The Celtics had to shuffle their lineup prior to the game after sending Brandan Wright to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a protected 2015 first- round pick as well as a trade exception. Wright was acquired in the Rajon Rondo deal a few weeks ago.
It was also reported leading scorer Jeff Green is expected to be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran Tayshaun Prince and another protected first- round pick. The Celtics and Grizzlies are allegedly awaiting authorization from a third unidentified team to complete that trade.
Celtics guard Avery Bradley knows it's a business and the team must remain focused on winning.
"It's not a distraction at all," Bradley told the team's website. "It's part of the business. We're all professionals and all we can do is focus on the game and that's what we all were doing."
The Celtics lost focus in overtime Friday against the Pacers, who scored 13 of the 22 points in the extra period after allowing 34 points in the fourth quarter. Bradley led the way with 23 points and buried a big 3-pointer to send the game into OT. Brandon Bass scored 17 and Evan Turner finished with nine points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
Turner's bucket made it 103-102 with less than two minutes remaining, but the Pacers battled back behind David West.
"It was a tough day. A unique day," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens remarked. "We came out and battled."
Boston has lost eight of its last 10 games, and is only 4-11 on the road. It will begin a three-game homestand Monday versus New Orleans, Atlanta and Chicago.
The Raptors defeated the Celtics in Boston on Nov. 5 and have taken three in a row and five of the last six in this series. Toronto is 3-0 in recent history as the host against the C's.