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

boards.

”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

opening quarter.

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

minutes left.

”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.