Friday, March 28, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Raptors 105, C's 103
By Chris Forsberg
Rapid Reaction after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 105-103 on Friday night at the Air Canada Centre:
THE NITTY GRITTY
DeMar DeRozan went off for 30 points, but it was Amir Johnson with the late game putback that helped the Raptors clinch their first playoff berth in six years. Jerryd Bayless scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, sparking Boston's rally. The Celtics put six players in double figures overall. Jeff Green had 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one emphatic chasedown block in the final minute. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 points, eight assists, and five rebounds over 33 minutes.
The Celtics were down as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter, but Bayless caught fire and his mid-range jumper with 4:52 to go pushed Boston out front 96-95. DeRozan and Rondo both hit tough shots in the final minute, leaving the score tied at 103-103 and Johnson followed a Lowry missed layup with a put back that provided the winning points with 7.1 seconds to go. A Jared Sullinger runner from the top of the key slammed hard off the glass on Boston's last gasp.
The Raptors put up 52 points in the paint and 12 offensive rebounds led to 15 second-chance points (none bigger than Johnson's final bucket). ... Phil Pressey played 13 ½ solid minutes, handing out five assists while helping to facilitate that fourth-quarter surge. ... The Celtics shot 52.6 percent overall, but were hurt by 16 turnovers (leading to 21 points). The Raptors shot 46.5 percent, but limited their giveaways (11 turnovers for 14 points).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (23-49) lost their third straight game and eighth in their last nine tries. Boston is tied with Utah for the fourth-worst record in basketball. The Celtics lost both ends of this home-and-home with Toronto and return to TD Garden to start another home-and-home with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.