Final, Celtics 88-83: And that’ll do it.
A career night by Jared Sullinger (25 points, 20 rebounds, four assists) and a big second quarter helped the Celtics topple the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors and snap their nine-game losing streak.
Boston is back at it Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, when they’re expected to finally have Rajon Rondo back in the lineup.
Thanks for joining me, everyone. Good night.
Fourth quarter, 0:07, Celtics 86-83: Jared Sullinger makes two free throws. Kyle Lowry comes down and sinks a bucket in the lane. The margin is still three.
Fourth quarter, 0:14, Celtics 84-81: Avery Bradley hits one of his two free throws, but Kyle Lowry buries a 3-pointer. This one isn’t over yet.
Fourth quarter, 0:29, Celtics 83-78: DeMar DeRozan’s jumper is off the mark. Jared Sullinger grabs the rebound, is fouled and makes both free throws to extend the Boston lead to five.
Fourth quarter, 0:38, Celtics 81-78: Amir Johnson fouls out, but Jared Sullinger fails to extend the Celtics’ lead by missing both free throws. With 21 points and 19 rebounds, Sullinger is one board away from a 20-20 night.
After a timeout, the Raptors will have the ball with a chance to tie it.
Fourth quarter, 1:42, Celtics 81-76: The Celtics’ lead is now five with less than two minutes to play. Jeff Green sank a jumper, and he and Jared Sullinger both went 1-for-2 from the line.
DeMar DeRozan, who leads all scorers with 22 points, made both of his free throws after being fouled by Green.
Fourth quarter, 4:00, Celtics 77-74: All the momentum the Celtics gathered in the second and third quarters has completely crumbled here in the fourth.
Trailing by 17, the Raptors ripped off 11 consecutive points to cut the deficit to six. A putback by Kris Humphries gave the Celtics their first points in nearly six minutes, but Boston did not get back on defense, opening the door for dunk contest alum Terrence Ross to respond with a thunderous slam.
Steve Novak followed with a 3-pointer, and the Celtics’ lead is now down to just three.
Fourth quarter, 8:49, Celtics 75-64: The Raptors have trimmed the Celtics’ 17-point lead to 11 thanks to 3-pointers from John Salmons — his game-high third — and Steve Novak.
End third quarter, Celtics 73-56: A fadeaway jumper at the buzzer caps a spectacular quarter by Jared Sullinger and sends the Celtics into the fourth with their largest lead of the night. Sullinger scored eight points in the final 2:03 of the third, and Jeff Green pitched in with his first 3-pointer of the game with one minute remaining.
Third quarter, 2:37, Celtics 63-50: The Celtics are beginning to pull away, as a Jared Sullinger 3-pointer puts the home team up 13 with less than three to play in the quarter.
That three gave Sullinger 14 points for the game, and he’s added a game-high 15 rebounds to become the only player on either side to reach double figures so far tonight.
Third quarter, 6:41, Celtics 53-44: Jared Sullinger has upped his rebound total to 15 on the night, with the first four of the third quarter coming on one impressive offensive possession for the Celtics.
Sullinger corralled the defensive rebound on Toronto’s first possession of the second half, and he scooped up boards off two missed 3-pointers on Boston’s next time down the floor before finishing it himself with the put-back off a Jeff Green miss.
Sullinger added another 2-pointer after a Kris Humphries basket to extend Boston’s lead to nine points.
Third quarter, 12:00, Celtics 45-41: Amir Johnson inbounds the ball to Kyle Lowry, and the second half is underway.
Halftime, Celtics 45-41: A desperation heave from Jeff Green at the buzzer clangs off the rim, and the Celtics will take a four-point lead into the break.
After an atrocious first quarter, Avery Bradley carried the Celtics in the second. Bradley scored 14 of his team’s 22 points in the frame on 6-of-7 shooting after going just 1-of-5 from the floor in the opening quarter and leaving the game with a hand injury.
Gerald Wallace also came on strong off the bench, contributing seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in 12 minutes of playing time.
Neither team has shot the ball well overall, though, with the C’s and Raptors turning in shooting percentages of 38.1 and 40.0, respectively. Foul shooting is what really doomed the Raptors in the first half, as they had opportunities to extend their lead several times in the first half but went just 4-of-11 from the line.
DeMar DeRozan has paced Toronto so far with 10 points and five rebounds, while Kyle Lowry has contributed nine points and John Salmons has added eight buckets off the bench.
Second quarter, 6:10, Celtics 32-31: Avery Bradley appears to have finally found his shooting touch.
The point guard has scored the Celtics’ last six points on three consecutive shots since returning from the locker room, giving Boston its first lead of the quarter.
Second quarter, 8:29, Raptors 29-25: Gerald Wallace has shown some great hustle here early in the second quarter.
Wallace sprawled out on the floor in an attempt to snag a loose ball, and he stole an errant Greivis Vasquez pass minutes later and turned it into an emphatic fast-break dunk, which brought the Garden crowd to its feet.
That has been the only Celtics bucket of the quarter, though, and the Raptors have extended their lead to four points.
Avery Bradley is back on the floor, but he still seems to be favoring his right hand.
End first quarter, Raptors 25-23: John Salmons drained his second 3-pointer of the game at the buzzer to put Toronto up by two after one quarter.
There is good news for the Celtics on the Avery Bradley front, though. We’ve been informed that his injury is a bruised right hand, and he is available to return.
First quarter, 1:26, Celtics 23-22: Terrence Ross drained a 3-pointer to put Toronto up 22-17, but the Celtics responded with two threes of their own — by Vitor Faverani and Gerald Wallace — to jump back ahead and prompt the Raptors to use a timeout.
Avery Bradley is now back on the bench, but his right hand is wrapped in an ACE bandage. Right now, it doesn’t appear as if he’s healthy enough to return.
First quarter, 3:10, Celtics 17-16: The last thing the Celtics need right now is to lose another guard, but Avery Bradley just headed to the locker room with what appears to be a hand or thumb injury. We’ll keep you updated on his condition.
First quarter, 4:19, Raptors 14-13: There has not been a whole lot of scoring thus far, as both teams have struggled from the floor.
Avery Bradley has gone just 1-for-5 from the floor thus far, and Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas has been able to captalize on three buckets from close range.
DeMar DeRozan has been the most consistent offensive performer thus far, with six points on 3-of-4 shooting, and Kris Humphries has paced the Celtics with six points and two rebounds.
John Salmons, who replaced Terrence Ross after Ross picked up two quick fouls, has five points for Toronto, including a 3-pointer.
First quarter, 12:00, 0-0: Kris Humphries wins the opening tip, and we are underway.
The Celtics are wearing their home whites tonight, with Toronto in their alternate red jerseys.
7:20 p.m.: The city of Toronto comes into this game looking for its second win at TD Garden in as many nights. The Maple Leafs toppled the Bruins 4-3 here last night.
Though the Celtics and Raptors are division rivals, this is the first time they have played in Boston this season. The Raptors won the first and only meeting between the two teams, 93-87 at the Air Canada Centre in the season opener.
6:55 p.m.: A quick update to the Celtics’ starting lineup: point guard Phil Pressey will be on the floor to start, with Jerryd Bayless coming off the bench. Pressey, an undrafted rookie out of Missouri, has appeared in 35 games for Boston this season, but this will be his first NBA start.
6:15 p.m.: We’re a little more than an hour from tip-off here at TD Garden, so let’s take a look at the starting lineups.
The Celtics will be trotting out a starting five of forwards Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, center Kris Humphies, and guards Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless.
Toronto will counter with Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas up front while Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan make up the Raptors’ productive backcourt. The two guards rank Nos. 1 and 2 on the team, respectively, in scoring, and Lowry’s 7.3 assists per game place him among the top 10 in the NBA.
As we mentioned before, the Celtics’ decision to jettison Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State earlier in the day leaves Phil Pressey as their only guard off the bench.
4:05 p.m.: The Celtics’ previously reported trade is now official.
Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks are headed to Golden State, the Warriors send Toney Douglas to Miami and the Celtics acquire Heat center Joel Anthony along with a conditional future first-round draft pick from the Warriors (via Philadelphia), Miami’s 2016 second-round pick and cash considerations.
If the 76ers make the playoff either this season or next season, the Celtics’ conditional pick will be a first-rounder. If Philadelphia fails to reach the postseason in both 2014 and 2015, Boston gets the Sixers’ second-round picks in 2015 and 2016.
The trade leaves Boston with just three guards — Avery Bradley, Jerryd Bayless and Phil Pressey — on its roster for tonight’s game against the Raptors. Rajon Rondo was recalled by the team after a brief workout with the Maine Red Claws, but he is not expected to suit up until Friday.
12:28 p.m.: As another bit of intrigue, the Celtics have just announced that Rajon Rondo has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws in what appears to be a tuneup for a possibly imminent return.
Ainge said this in the release: “Rajon is progressing terrifically in his rehab, and this is the next step. This is a brief assignment so that Rajon can participate in a workout this afternoon with the Red Claws, and he will be called back up to the Celtics upon the conclusion of the workout.”
12:20 p.m.: As reported deals tend to go, this one is still shifting.
Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks are still on the move, but Boston will be getting quite a bit back, and a couple of NBA contenders are getting some depth through the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski now reports that Toney Douglas is going to the Miami Heat, and the Celtics will get Joel Anthony. Boston is also getting some draft picks, as described below:
From Miami, Boston will also receive Philadelphia's projected future first-round pick and a future second round pick, league source tells Y—
Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 15, 2014
On Philly's 1st-rounder to Boston via Miami, here's detail: If Sixers don't make playoffs this season or next, turns into two 2nd rounders.—
Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 15, 2014
12 p.m.: The Celtics continue to shake things up, even if it’s just off the court.
After reports arose earlier this morning that the club was looking to offload Jordan Crawford, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Crawford and MarShon Brooks have been dealt to the Golden State Warriors.
Boston gets Toney Douglas in return, according to Wojnarowski.
Crawford was a pleasant surprise during the Celtics’ expectations-defying early-season run. With Rajon Rondo out with injury, Crawford picked up much of the point guard duties and was able to lead an effective Boston attack. He also appeared to be getting away from the poor shot selection that has plagued much of his early career as a volume scorer.
Crawford has regressed recently, though, and with the Celtics on a sharp slide, he becomes the latest player dealt from the team as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge rebuilds. Courtney Lee was traded last Tuesday in a deal that had many thinking more moves were coming.
Brooks, acquired in last summer’s franchise-changing trade with the Brooklyn Nets, has had an up-and-down year, including a recent D-League stint. — JS
8 a.m.: In what is expected to be their last game before Rajon Rondo’s return, the Boston Celtics welcome the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors to town Wednesday night.
After a pleasantly surprising start to the season, the Celtics have nosedived of late and enter Wednesday’s tilt carrying the weight of a nine-game losing streak.
Brad Stevens’ team was winless on a five-game West Coast swing last week, and Boston did not fare any better in its return to TD Garden, dropping a 104-92 decision to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
The Raptors have been far from world-beaters this season, either, but they have benefited from playing in the abysmal Atlantic. Toronto is 6-1 against division foes — including 1-0 against the Celtics — and just 13-16 against the rest of the NBA. The Raptors are strong in the defensive end, though, allowing an average of 96.4 points per game, which ranks tied for third in the league behind Chicago and Indiana.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m., but keep it tuned to NESN.com for pregame updates throughout the day.