The Boston Celtics (13-26, 8-11 home) host the Toronto Raptors (19-17, 10-9 away) on Wednesday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
RAPTORS THRIVING AFTER GAY TRADE: The Raptors will look a little different than when Boston saw them on opening night up north, having dealt Rudy Gay to Sacramento. But since taking back John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes, the Raptors are 12-4. In that 16-game span, the Raptors rank 11th in the league in offensive rating, second in defensive rating, and first in net rating. Opponents are averaging just 91.6 points per game in that span while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor.
COACH'S SCOUTING REPORT: Here's Celtics coach Brad Stevens on the Raptors: "They’ve gotten a lot better. The additions that they have had on their team have really helped their team in a great way. You look at, first of all, [DeMar] DeRozan is an All-Star, and I think Kyle Lowry is playing at a fantastic level. Terrence Ross has always been a guy that gives us fits. And then [Amir] Johnson and [Jonas] Valanciunas have been a solid 4-5 that have also done the same. Now you add in the guys like Salmons and Patterson and Vazquez, all these new guys, they’ve just impacted winning. That’s what they’ve done. They haven't all filled up the stat sheet every night the same way, but they have impacted winning, and as a result, they’ve played the best in our division. They’ve been one of the better teams in the East for the better part of the past month and a half."
LOOSE BALLS: GARDEN DROUGHTS: From Stats LLC: Toronto has dropped 19 of 21 road matchups against the Celtics, including 10 straight by an average of 16.3 points since pulling out a 114-112 victory Jan. 23, 2008. ... Boston's lost nine straight and 12 of 13, but this may be their final game of the season without Rajon Rondo. This could be one final chance for Jordan Crawford to show what he can do in starter minutes before settling into a reserve role when Rondo returns. ... Jeff Green sat out the final 14 minutes of Monday's loss and it will be interesting to see which Green we get out of the gates Wednesday. ... Despite losing nine straight, Boston is seeing better individual play from guys like Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kris Humphries. Alas, lulls in production have prevented this team from snapping this losing streak. ... Boston last won on Dec. 28 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.