The undermanned Raptors were in tough in Boston, where they stayed with Celtics for roughly half of the first quarter. With the score 18-17 wtih 5:13 in the opening frame, the Celtics ended the quarter on a 16-5 run for a lead that wouldn't dwindle to single digits the rest of the way.
Not that the Raps didn't try to get back in it. They used a 9-4 run to trail by just 12 with 9:37 to play, but turned it over on back-to-back possessions and saw Ray Allen hit a three to spark an 11-0 run that put the game out of reach.
Rookie Luke Harangody got some early minutes and made the most of them by converting all four of his shot attempts in the first quarter and tilting a close game decidedly into Boston's favour. The forward out of Notre Dame went on to a career-night with 17 points (8-11 FGM-A), 11 rebounds and two blocks.
"When you get guys that come off the bench and play with the effort and the intensity that he plays with, I really think the starters really, they love that," said Doc Rivers. "That’s what gets them up and cheering and that’s why they like him so much."
On a night with few positives for the Raptors, credit Ed Davis for battling against a much bigger Boston frontline on their raucous home turf. His line of eight points (4-6 FGM-A), two rebounds and two blocks isn't eye-popping, but he didn't back down from the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal in his first appearance at the Garden.
“They’re a veteran team, they’ve been playing for a long time... We’re going to just keep working and eventually one day we’ll be like how they are," said Davis.
"When you look at that team there’s a reason their the best team in the East right now. Their physically stronger then us or quicker then us at all five positions. They go where they want to go offensively, they know how to use screens, set screens, and for some of our young guys and our guys battling injuries, we can’t match up with that, that physical play, it makes for a long night"
- Jay Triano, on the veteran Celtics
Sun., Jan. 9 vs. Sacramento
1 PM ET, TSN, FAN590
The Raps return home for a three-game homestand, beginning against the Kings on Sunday. The Raps lost to the Kings on the road 108-111 way back on Nov. 1, with Bargnani and DeRozan combining for 52 points. After losing 22 of 24 games, the Kings have been better of late with wins in three of their last five. Just two of the their victories however, have come away from ARCO Arena.
|43-31||Rebounding totals favouring the Celtics|
|19||Points scored by the Raps off 16 Boston turnovers|
|22-12||Second-chance points favouring Boston|
|1-3||Raptors record vs. the Celtics this season|
|6||Consecutive losses for the Raptors in Boston|
|"They know what they’ve got to do if they get down five points…10 points…they know exactly what to do and that’s something we definitely could learn from a team like Boston."|
- DeMar DeRozan, on the Celtics' confidence
|"Yeah, thank goodness, because that was a dangerous part of the game. I thought Rondo’s three, as crazy as it sounds, may have been the biggest shot of the game."|
- Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on the start of the fourth quarter
|"They're tough to guard. We're trying to do our thing but they always find the guys who's open. That have too many weapons."|
- Jose Calderon, on the game slipping away early