Celtics-Raptors Preview

While the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon

are still fresh in their minds, the Boston Celtics will try to

shift their attention back to the court.

In its final tuneup before the playoffs, visiting Boston goes

for a four-game season sweep of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday

night.

The Celtics (41-39) will only play 81 games this season after

Tuesday’s matchup against Indiana was canceled in response to the

Boston Marathon bombings.

“Out of respect to all of the people who were affected by this,

the families, we felt like it’s just not circumstances we wanted to

play under and felt it would be the best way for us as an

organization to show our respects to all of the people who are

impacted by this,” team president Rich Gotham told the Celtics’

official website.

“I just think it was more of an emotional decision to try to do

what’s right and respect the families and understand that people

might not want to be out.”

With Indiana and Boston locked into the Eastern Conference’s No.

3 and 7 seeds, Tuesday’s cancellation won’t have any impact on the

standings.

“It would have been very difficult,” forward Shavlik Randolph

said of going through with the game.”Obviously, I don’t think

anyone’s thinking about basketball at a time like this. It

absolutely puts things in perspective. At this time you have to

think about the people that were affected, the people that were

hurt by that. That’s what’s important.”

The Celtics, who figure to come out with heavy hearts Wednesday,

have taken 20 of 24 matchups from the Raptors (33-48), including

all three this season by an average of 15.3 points. It’s unclear,

though, how coach Doc Rivers plans to use Kevin Garnett and Paul

Pierce with a first-round matchup against New York just around the

corner. Both players have dealt with injuries over the last few

weeks.

“It’s a fine line between rest and health,” Pierce said. “Right

now we’re as healthy as we’re gonna be for the rest of the season.

… The most important thing is that we’re ready for the

playoffs.”

One night after missing Friday’s 109-101 loss at Miami, Garnett

and Pierce returned Saturday as the Celtics posted their highest

point total this season in a 120-88 rout at Orlando. Courtney Lee

scored a season high-tying 20 to lead seven players in double

figures for Boston, which shot 59.3 percent. Garnett added 14 on

7-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds in just 19 minutes while Pierce

scored 12 to go along with eight assists and six boards.

The Raptors are coming off their fourth straight win and sixth

in seven games, 113-96 at Atlanta on Tuesday. DeMar DeRozan

continued his impressive play with 30 points and Rudy Gay scored 22

for Toronto, which shot 51.3 percent.

“We’re playing freely. We’re going out there and not thinking so

much, playing with our abilities and instincts,” DeRozan said.

“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team. When we play like we

played tonight, we’re tough to beat.”

DeRozan is averaging 23.9 points – 5.9 more than his season mark

– on 55.0 percent shooting during Toronto’s 6-1 run. He has,

however, been limited to 13.3 per game on 38.5 percent shooting

against Boston this season.

Toronto most recently won a season high-tying five straight Feb.

8-19. The Raptors haven’t been swept by the Celtics since

2009-10.