BOSTON, Feb. 27 (Ticker) --
The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors
both were riding season-high seven-game losing streaks. Paul
Pierce made sure Boston's ride came to an end.
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Pierce scored 21 points to lead the Celtics to an easy 88-75
victory over the shorthanded Raptors.
Boston won for just the second time under interim coach John Carroll
, improving to 2-12 since the resignation of Jim O'Brien
on January 27.
"We just wanted to get the monkey off our back," Pierce said.
"I'm glad it was us."
The Celtics also snapped a five-game losing streak at home,
winning at the FleetCenter for the first time since a 100-89
victory over Washington on January 23.
"We worked hard and finally got this one," center Mark Blount
said. "The last couple of games we've been close, but everybody
came together and got it done."
Toronto has not won since superstar Vince Carter
ankle in a 86-82 loss vs. San Antonio on February 18. The
Raptors have lost eight straight overall and four in a row at
"I didn't feel anything positive going on out there tonight, by
any stretch of the imagination in any way," Toronto coach Kevin O'Neill
said. "Let's face it, we're putting kids in positions
they shouldn't be in. (Roger) Mason
, (Jannero) Pargo
... We are
who we are right now, and there's not much we can do about it."
The Celtics jumped out to a 57-37 halftime lead behind 13 points
from Pierce. The Raptors went the first 4:28 of the third
quarter without a basket as Boston extended the lead to 26
The Raptors used a 17-5 third-quarter run to close the deficit
to 68-54 but got no closer than 12 the rest of the contest.
Rookie Brandon Hunter
added 11 points and a career-high 16
rebounds for Boston, which outrebounded Toronto, 54-32. The
rebounds were a season high for the Celtics.
"That's what I do (rebound)," Hunter said. "That's my NBA skill
and that's our weakness. Me crashing the glass and clearing
the lane helps other guys get rebounds. You just have to want
to go get it."
"You see a guy like (Brandon) out there battling for every ball,
it gets contagious," Pierce said. "He's a tremendous asset.
I'm happy for him and hope he continues to work hard."
The Raptors were led by Donyell Marshall
with 19 points and 13
rebounds. They also were without guards Jalen Rose and Alvin
"When you're shorthanded, you can't make a lot of mistakes,"
forward Michael Curry
said. "We have to find a way to start the
game off better. It's a tough time and we've got to weather