Sunday, January 11, 2015

Raptors 109 - Celtics 96: Lowry, Raptors outplay C's in 2nd half

Photo: Chris Young (The Canadian Press)

After losing four straight, the Toronto Raptors needed a win against the Celtics to stay afloat in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

All-star Kyle Lowry's 19 points led six Raptors in double-digits in a 109-96 win over Boston. Louis Williams scored 19 of his own off the bench for Toronto and James Johnson put together a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Celtics offense looked great from the start.

They did a good job rotating the ball and Avery Bradley got off to a hot start, he scored 7 of his 17 points in the first. C's led 26-19 at the start of the second quarter.

But the Raptors didn't need much time to regain the lead. Even though the Celtics stretched their first quarter lead to nine in the second quarter, the game was tied at the three-minute mark. By halftime, the Raptors led, 47-43.

Toronto buckled down on defense, they also forced turnovers and forced the Celtics to take tough shots. At the end of the third quarter, the Raptors led, 82-65. Celtics did their best to make a comeback in the fourth with a 12-3 run and cut the deficit to eight.

Photo: Chris Young (The Canadian Press)
But the Raptors responded with a 12-1 run, Lowry scored 5 points, and helped hand the Celtics its third consecutive loss.
"We just got more defensive-minded," Kyle Lowry said after the game. "We weren't really worried about the offensive end, we knew the shots would fall. We put a real good emphasis on defense tonight."

Kelly Olynyk's 23 points led the Celtics. He played 23 minutes off the bench, and Jared Sullinger posted 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"They're at a different level than we are right now," coach Brad Stevens said after the game. "We need to play better if we want a chance to win against a team of that caliber in this building."
The C's proved earlier this season that they can keep up with the Raptors. In their fifth game of the season, the Celtics let the game slip away against in the second half behind Lowry's 35 points, Celtics lost 110-107.

But this isn't the same Celtics team. No Rajon Rondo, no Jeff Green, meaning the Celtics will continue to search for a new identity in 2015 and do their best to put together some wins. However, give credit to Toronto. That is a good basketball team up north, a team will be fighting for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. They're also a team that's without their scorer DeMar DeRozan, who is expected to return soon, and will only make them better.

Celtics finished their three-game road trip 0-3, they've lost nine of their last 11 games. C's come home on Monday to take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 7:30.

Game Notes:

Jae Crowder made his second straight start last night. He's been playing well on the defensive end and his offense is starting to pick up a bit, he scored 7 points and grabbed 3 rebounds... Avery Bradley continues to shoot the ball well. Throughout the Celtics' three-game road trip, he averaged 20 points. Bradley is also taking more shots, he took 17 last night. It will only make him better, and now that Green is gone there will be plenty of opportunities for him. While Evan Turner gets used to his new role in the starting lineup's backcourt, Bradley is there to help.

Josue Pavon
Twitter: @Joe_Sway10

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