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Celtics drop fourth straight with loss to Toronto Raptors

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Raptors take a bite out of Celtics, win 105-91

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

A brutal stretch continues as the Boston Celtics lost their fourth straight game to drop to the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Raptors were playing their fourth game in five nights and coming off of an overtime game last night, yet they were the team getting off to a quick start out of the gate. It's clear how much the Celtics have missed Jae Crowder over the past few games. He sets the tone with his intensity, hustle, and energy, all qualities this team lacked in a first quarter where they produced a meager 14 points, as Toronto raced out to an early double-digit lead.

The Celtics made six shots in the first quarter and turned the ball over seven times. That's not exactly a recipe for success.

Boston's young legs should have been able to take advantage of this tired Toronto team, but it was the 35-year-old Luis Scola stealing the show with 17 points in the opening frame. Forget Kevin Durant, let's ask Scola what he thinks of the city of Boston!

The Celtics finally woke up in the third quarter, getting back to forcing turnovers and pushing the ball in transition. What once was a 19-point Toronto lead was cut to a manageable 5 points entering the final frame. Isaiah Thomas helped fuel the run that chipped into the lead, finishing with a team-high 20 points.

Unfortunately the confidence gained in that third quarter wouldn't carry over through the end. A plan to spark another run with a super-small ball lineup that had Marcus Smart at the four backfired with a seemingly endless string of turnovers and sloppy possessions, allowing Toronto to take back control.

It certainly didn't help that Kyle Lowry became unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring a dozen of his game-high 32 points to take the wind out of the sails of any Celtics comeback attempt.

Boston desperately needs to find their mojo to avoid losing ground in a tightly contested race for playoff seeding. With that in mind, there's no better news for this team right now than to see the lowly Philadelphia 76ers up next on the schedule this weekend.