Celtics 110, Raptors 101
The old guys just didn’t forget.
Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 11 rebounds, Shaquille O’Neal
added 16 points and nine boards, and the Boston Celtics avenged a
loss to Toronto by beating the Raptors 110-101 on Friday night.
Still smarting after losing to Toronto five days ago, Boston
pounded the ball inside to its aging, but very effective stars.
”Kevin’s energy tonight was off the charts, and you knew it
would be, if you know Kevin, because the last time we played them
the guy in his position had a pretty good game,” Boston coach Doc
Rivers said. ”That’s just Kevin Garnett.”
It was the Celtics’ third straight win after they lost
consecutive games for the only time this season, the second coming
at Toronto when Boston squandered a lead in the closing seconds of
a 102-101 defeat on Sunday.
Amir Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in
Toronto’s win. On Friday, he was held to 11 points with six
”Yeah, (Kevin and I) have this conversation all the time. The
young guys can talk,” O’Neal said. ”He was actually talking that
he was a player.”
Glen ”Big Baby” Davis had 10 of his 18 points in the final
quarter for Boston. Paul Pierce finished with 18 points, Ray Allen
17 and Rajon Rondo collected 14 assists in his first game after
missing three straight with a strained left hamstring.
Most of Rondo’s dazzling passes led to layups and dunks. Boston
outscored the Raptors 64-44 in the paint.
”We watched the tape and understand what our advantage is, and
that’s what we did,” Pierce said. ”We knew we could attack the
inside. We were able to go inside against these guys.”
Linas Kleiza led Toronto’s balanced scoring with 18 points. The
Raptors, which had won four straight, had six players in double
figures. Jose Calderon had 14 assists and 12 points.
Rondo paid immediate dividends, getting eight assists in the
Raptors forward Reggie Evans was helped to the Toronto bench
midway through the third quarter. Coach Jay Triano said after the
game that Evans broke his right foot.
Triano agreed that the Raptors’ youth was taught a lesson by
Boston’s elder players.
”It’s part of the learning experience,” he said. ”It was a
tough learning experience for them.”
The Celtics had opened a 21-point edge early in the final
quarter, but Toronto closed it to 99-93 on Kleiza’s basket with
5:20 to play. Davis then hit a shot for Boston and Garnett tipped
in his own miss, pushing the Celtics back up by nine with 4 1/2
”We tried, but we put ourselves in a bad position throughout
the game,” Toronto’s Peja Stojakovic said. ”It was a big point
differential, especially against a team like Boston.”
Pierce’s 3-pointer made it 105-95 with just under three minutes
to play. The Celtics were never threatened the rest of the way.
Boston led 58-52 at halftime and opened its big lead in the
third quarter. The Celtics had assists on all but one of their 22
baskets in the first half.
The Celtics, who shot 59 percent in the quarter, outscored
Toronto 28-15, holding the Raptors to 15.8 percent from the floor
(3 of 19).
After Calderon nailed a jumper for Toronto to start the
third-quarter scoring, Boston had the next 11 points, with
Garnett’s jam off Rondo’s alley-oop pass the highlight. Garnett
also had a dunk in the spree.
The teams traded baskets before Boston took control by scoring
14 of the next 17 points. The Celtics led 86-67 entering the final
12 minutes, but the Raptors made their charge.
NOTES: Celtics G Nate Robinson was whistled for a Flagrant 1
foul on Kleiza in the second quarter. … Rivers didn’t mind
playing the Raptors again so quickly. In fact, he’d like to see
teams play consecutive nights. ”I thought it made the second game
more competitive,” he said before the game. ”I loved that fact. I
wish we’d do it more often.” … Stojakovic played his second game
with Toronto after being acquired from New Orleans on November 20.
He had 13 points in 5-of-7 shooting. … Rondo got a big ovation
when he came out of the locker room late for pregame warmups. …
The Celtics wore their third jerseys that are dark green. …
Patriots WR Deion Branch was seated courtside.