The Celtics wiped out a 12-point Raptors lead in the fourth with a 16-1 run. But Toronto regained its footing and pulled within 101-100 on a Sonny Weems layup 18.8 seconds to play.
Leandro Barbosa followed that by poking the ball away from Ray Allen only to see his layup attempt blocked. But Amir Johnson battled for the offensive rebound and was fouled in the process. Johnson calmly knocked down his free throws, Paul Pierce's buzzer-beater try was off and the Raps snap their streak against the Celtics in gritty fashion.
Andrea Bargnani was fired up for this one, showing some emotion and backing it up with another strong performance on both sides of the ball. He was particularly good during the Raptors' 38-point second quarter, where he scored 13 of his game-high 29 points.
Bargnani fired away from beyond the arc a little more than he has of late with five three-point attempts, but four of his nine makes were in the paint and he set new season-highs with free throws made (nine) and attempted (13).
Amir Johnson was outstanding in just over 24 minutes of work with 17 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a block and some determined defence. But most impressive was hitting those game-tying and winning free throws to cap a nine-of-nine effort from the stripe. So what's been the secret to his bounce back season at the line?
"Working with Coach English every day on free throws," said Johnson. "Before we leave the gym we shoot about 50 free throws, almost 100 free throws a day. I owe it to him."
"Our guys played real gutsy. I though we didn't give them anything real easy. I think we made a couple of mistakes defensively and Ray (Allen) got a couple of threes that got them back into the game, one off of a bad break where our two guys had the basketball and it bounced off their hands. But I just though we made them work harder. This is a team that has 96,000 points between them and we are here with 12,000 points."
- Jay Triano, on his team's defensive effort
Wed., Nov.24 vs. Sixers
7 PM ET, Sporsnet Ontario, FAN590
The Raptors face the Sixers for the second time in four games, but they'll be a different-looking team with Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless expected to make their debuts on Wednesday. Leandro Barbosa also missed the Raptors' 94-86 in Philadelphia last Wednesday. The Sixers are 1-6 on the road this season, and will be closing out a back-to-back in this one.
|8||Consecutive wins for the Celtics vs. the Raps prior to Sunday's game|
|31-21||Bench scoring favouring the Raptors|
|9-9||Free throw shooting for Amir Johnson, who's now hitting at an 88% clip from the line this season|
|11||Turnovers for the Raptors|
|9||Season-high in points for Reggie Evans, who added a game-high 16 rebounds|
|"No doubt, great confidence. As we say, we can beat anybody we just need to dig in on the defensive end."|
- Sonny Weems, on the benefits of the win
|"We didn't play great tonight obviously but we still had a chance to win the game and should have won the game."|
- Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on his team's second straight loss
|"We had a bad start but we know that we have to take advantage of this stretch of home games and that is what we are doin, we just have to keep doing it."|
- Andrea Bargnani, on the team's improved play