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Celtics Take Down Raptors

The Celtics carried a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the bench couldn't maintain it as the Raptors cut the lead to as little as six with 5:30 to play, before the starters managed to close things out for good. The Celtics escape with the win over a pesky Toronto team, 110-101. 

  • The Raptors hit five three-pointers in the fourth quarter, which helped them cut the lead to single digits. But they went scoreless from the 5:30 mark to the 3:17 mark, and Paul Pierce hit a three-pointer with 2:55 left to put Boston back on top by 10, 105-95, to help end Toronto's comeback. 
  • The Celtics led 31-20 after the first quarter after assisting on all 12 of their made field goals. Rajon Rondo, who returned after missing the last three games with a strained left hamstring, recorded eight of those 12 assists. 
  • In the second quarter, against Boston's second unit, Toronto climbed back into it, rattling off 32 points, and cutting Boston's lead to six (58-52). The Raptors held a 25-15 edge in rebounds at the half, but the real difference came on the offensive glass, where Toronto out-rebounded Boston 12-3. The Raptors scored 18 second chance points in the first half, and scored 30 points in the paint, compared to Boston's 36. The Celtics didn't close the half out well, as they turned the ball over on three of their final four possessions of the half. 
  • The third quarter was a different story, however, as the Celtics' defense was stifling once again, holding the Raptors to just 15 total points on 3-19 shooting. 
  • Rondo had 14 assists in his return to action, but that number will be marred by the eight turnovers he was also credited with. The Celtics' ball movement as a team was phenomenal, as they recorded 33 assists on 41 baskets.
  • Shaquille O'Neal had another great game, posting 16 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks (one of which was an absolute rejection of Linas Kleiza). One thing that I was really impressed with with Shaq was his energy in this one. There were times when he looked like he really wanted it, which I think is great to see out of our 38-year old center. 
  • Kevin Garnett posted a season-high 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds. I lost track of the number of alley-oops he connected on with Rajon Rondo. 
  • Ray Allen added 17 points (three three-pointers in the first quarter), Paul Pierce chipped in with 18, and Glen Davis poured in 18 off the bench (8-16 from the floor). Does anyone else think Davis might be taking a few too many jumpers?
  • Toronto's bench stole the show, as four players combined for 63 points, compared to just 38 points for the starters. The Raptors' bench brigade scored the majority of the team's 34 fourth quarter points. I'm sure Doc Rivers won't be happy with that number. 

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