After far too many Friday night home losses and more than their share of too-close-for-comfort wins, the early-October Celtics resurfaced for a 116-103 win over Toronto at the TD Garden on Friday night.
The two teams spent an offensively-charged first half trading baskets and each shot about 67 percent from the floor. The Raptors entered the intermission with a one-point lead, but Boston pulled away midway through the third quarter, courtesy of a stellar night from Rasheed Wallace, who tallied 15 points and three assists off the bench.
Boston shot 62 percent from the floor, their fourth-best shooting night in the last 10 years. Every Celtics starter scored in double figures, and captain Paul Pierce continued to be the anchoring presence for Boston on the floor, contributing 18 points and five rebounds. Ray Allen led all Celtics with 20 points and point guard Rajon Rondo had 12 points and 11 assists.
Chris Bosh had 20 points and 13 rebounds, leading all Raptors, who committed a season-high 25 turnovers.
Celtics 116, Raptors 103
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Nov. 27, 2009
Headliner: Rasheed Wallace was the spark Boston needed to reassert its dominance against a division rival, finishing with 15 points off the bench. He kept his composure despite a technical in the first quarter and shot 6-for-11 from the field. Wallace led all scorers with 12 points heading into the intermission, and he thankfully rediscovered his shot from 3-point land, going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Unsung Hero: Center Kendrick Perkins finished the night with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor.
Hedo Turkoglu was solid for the Raptors, shooting 8-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc to finish with 20 points.
Scrub: The officiating was questionable, at best — as was aptly illustrated by the commentary of Tommy Heinsohn. The referees had no problem doling out technicals all night against Boston — one in the first quarter on Rasheed Wallace, one on Paul Pierce after Chris Bosh bore the brunt of his fourth-quarter dunk, and one subsequent one on Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who expressed his displeasure over the call against Pierce. Kevin Garnett also took a terrible call midway through the third quarter during Boston's decisive run: He set a pick on Turkoglu, and Turkoglu did a great acting job, "tripping" over KG's foot and flailing to the floor.
Celtics fans will take the technicals — they're just happy to see the C's rediscover their swagger — but when did playing with passion become a crime?
Turning Point: With seven minutes left in the third quarter and the Celtics fighting to maintain a tie — or at least a two-point deficit — Kevin Garnett got fouled by Hedo Turkoglu under the net, made the reverse and got the call — but the refs ruled no basket. Boston got the make-up call one play layer, when Ray Allen sunk a jumper, got fouled and make the free throw to put the C's on top 64-61. The play began a mini-run that gave Boston a lead it would not relinquish and marked the emergence of a defensive effort that was nonexistent throughout the entire first half.
Up Next: The Celtics hit the road for a 6 p.m. matchup with Dwayne Wade and the Heat on Sunday. At 9-5, Miami sits right in the middle of the Southeast standings, behind Orlando and the surprising Hawks. As expected, Wade leads the team in points (27.8), assists (5.3) and steals (2.1).
After a tough week last week in which they went 0-3, the Heat seem to have righted the ship — at least temporarily — with two big wins over New Orleans and at Orlando before dropping a Friday night dud against the Wizards. In the 99-98 thriller over the Magic, Michael Beasley had a double double of 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Wade chipped in 24 points.
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