Raptors Can't Catch Celtics In Boston

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October 10, 2010

BOSTON (AP) -- Nate Robinson figures the Boston Celtics' bench won't face much stiffer competition than what they see in their own practices.

Robinson scored 13 points, including a key three-pointer, to lift the Celtics to a 91-87 pre-season win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

With aging stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Shaquille O'Neal expected to carry the bulk of minutes in key games throughout the season and likely into the post-season, the Celtics will need help from their reserves to keep the stars well rested.

On Sunday, they had a chance against some of the Raptors' regulars.

``Just confidence,'' said Robinson when asked about a win carried by the bench. ``Knowing we go against some of the best guys in the league in practice, we're just preparing each other.''

O'Neal, Delonte West and Marquis Daniels each scored 11 points for Boston, which improved to 3-0. West and Daniels were on the floor with Robinson when the Raptors put starters Andrea Bargnani, Jarrett Jack and Sonny Weems back into the game.

``It was nice,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. ``I don't know if that was exactly our second unit. I thought it was nice they put in some of their guys.''

Jack led the Raptors (1-1) with 18 points. Leandro Barbosa added 16 points, getting 14 in the second half.

``I don't think we're playing the game right now the way we're supposed to play it,'' Raptors coach Jay Triano said. ``I'm just trying to get minutes and get these guys legs under them and get them playing defence the way we want to play it.''

Jermaine O'Neal played his first game after missing the first two with a strained left hamstring. He blocked three shots and grabbed two rebounds in seven scoreless minutes. Rivers said before the game that he wanted to ease him back into action.

Shaquille O'Neal also grabbed five rebounds and was perfect from the free throw line _ 3 of 3 _ but picked up five fouls in 17 minutes.

Despite being a pre-season game, it was fairly highly contested with both teams _ mostly reserves _ going at each other with spirited play in the second half.

Boston reserve forward Stephane Lasme cut around a screen for a driving dunk, pushing Boston ahead 85-84 with just over 2{ minutes left.

The teams were tied three times and swapped leads eight times in the final quarter until Lasme's jam moved Boston ahead for good. Robinson followed with his three-pointer, making it 88-84 with 2:21 left.

Von Wafer hit three free throws to help seal it.

Celtics forward Glen (Big Baby) Davis got a cut on his nose taking a charge on David Anderson early in the second quarter and didn't play the rest of the game.

One of the better highlights was when Rajon Rondo perfectly set up Shaq with an alley-oop pass that the seven-foot-one centre caught with one hand and slammed through, bringing the crowd to its feet.

Boston's starters -- led by Kevin Garnett -- looked sharp early in the first game at the TD Garden since the Celtics won Game 5 of the NBA finals last spring before losing the series in a Game 7 to the Lakers in Los Angeles.

The Celtics opened a double-digit lead, 28-17, on West's three-point play early in the second quarter, but the Raptors closed to 46-39 at halftime.