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Raptors Can't Climb Out Of Early Hole Against Celtics

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Video: Game In Six | Triano | Bosh | Calderon | Jack | Turkoglu
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January 10, 2010

TORONTO (CP) - The Boston Celtics wasted no time establishing a big lead on the Toronto Raptors, and Rajon Rondo made sure it counted for something.

The Celtics scored the first 10 points of the game and Rondo recorded his first triple-double of the season as the Atlantic Division leaders beat Toronto 114-107 on Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.

``It was back and forth after we gave up a 10-point lead to start,'' Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. ``But we fought back, we just couldn't get over the hump.''

Chris Bosh led the Raptors (19-19) with 31 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 9.9 seconds left in the game.

Rondo finished with 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his third career triple-double. Rasheed Wallace scored a season-high 29 points with 9-for-12 shooting that included a 5-for-7 game from three-point range for the Celtics (26-9), who led all the way.

``He extends the defence and made some threes,'' Triano said about Wallace. ``He has not been shooting well all year but he has the ability to do it.''

``I thought he was phenomenal,'' Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. ``The big shots he made, the post plays he made. I thought he was great defensively. I thought Rondo had a terrific game as well.''

Bosh had only two points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics concentrated on defending him.

``We were just going with what was working,'' Bosh said of the fourth quarter. ``I think they really started paying attention to me a lot more and I was able to kick the ball to some open shooters. I don't want to force anything, you can't force anything because that's what gets you in trouble.''

The Celtics set the tone when they opened a 10-0 lead 1:32 into the game, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce hitting consecutive three-pointers before Triano called a time out.

``I didn't think he had to say much, even though he did,'' said guard Jarrett Jack who scored 15 points and had four assists. ``We knew that we weren't being aggressive, we were laying back a lot. That was pretty much all that needed to be said.

``I don't think it was the ball game. We ran off I think six points and we were down by four [12-8] in the next minute or two. I don't think it was the ball game at all.''

Toronto did not score until Bosh hit two free throws with 9:25 to go in the quarter. The Raptors settled down after that and cut the Celtics' lead to three by the end of the first.

``I thought the beginning of the game for us was really important,'' Rivers said. ``They're used to playing at a one o'clock start and we talked about getting off to a great start and we did.''

``They are the younger team, it was an early game for us,'' Wallace said, ``but we knew we had to come out focused because we knew they were going to try and run it up in the first five or six minutes of the game. We just came out stronger.''

The Celtics led 93-80 after three quarters. The Raptors cut the lead to eight with 9:51 left in the game after Marco Belinelli hit a three-pointer followed by a driving lay-up off a fast break.

Toronto pulled within four points with 2:06 remaining after Bosh made an 18-foot jump shot, but that was as close as the Raptors would get.

``I thought there was one stretch in the fourth quarter where we were kind of playing the clock,'' Rivers said, ``and they almost got back into the game and then we got a couple of great stops.''

Kendrick Perkins had one of his four blocked shots and Wallace had two of his eight rebounds and a steal in the final 1:07.

The Celtics have won six in a row at the Air Canada Centre, as well as 11 of their past 12 games there.

The Celtics also ended the Raptors string of six wins in a row at home. Toronto is 12-6 at home.

Notes: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett missed his fifth consecutive game because of a hyper-extended right knee. Garnett did not play when the Celtics defeated the Raptors 103-96 in Boston on Jan. 2 ... Raptors guard Marcus Banks did not dress because of an upper respiratory infection ... The Raptors entered Sunday's game with an 8-2 record over their previous 10 games, their best 10-game run since Jan. 31 to Feb. 23, 2007 ... The Raptors play on Monday at Indiana and Friday at New York before returning home next Sunday to play Dallas.