Live Blog: Raptors at Celtics

Live Blog: Raptors at Celtics Final, Celtics 116-103: Another sluggish first half but another win as the Celtics win their third in a row to improve to 12-4.

It was a complete effort offensively as Boston got six players into double figures and executed on that end of the floor from the start.

Ray Allen led the way with 20 points, Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce chipped in 18 apiece and Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points and 11 assists.

Rasheed Wallace, who had been struggling, added 15 points off the bench.

Some notable numbers from this one:

–The Celtics shot a season-high 62 percent (48-of-77).

–Boston’s 33 assists ties the team high.

–Toronto’s 25 turnovers were the most against the Celtics this season.

It’s on to Miami for a 6 p.m. meeting on Sunday with the Heat. We will be following that one for you so make sure to check back.

Fourth quarter, 2:08, Celtics 110-95: Doc Rivers just cleared his bench as this one is just about over.

Fourth quarter, 3:02, Celtics 110-95: That is an 8-of-8 night so far for Kendrick Perkins after he hits a little pull-up jumper and the fans start to hit the exits in droves. Geez, I guess there is a fight for leftovers at home or something.

Perkins and Kevin Garnett are now a combined 14-of-14 from the floor and the C’s are shooting 64 percent (47-of-74). They have already established a season high for points in the paint (currently at 66) and as mentioned earlier are threatening several other season standards.

We’ll go through all those at the close of this one.

Fourth quarter, 5:55, Celtics 101-89: There is still some time for the Raptors to come back but Boston’s offense has not slowed down.

The Celtics are threatening several team season highs. Their best scoring output this season is 118, their highest field goal percentage 58.1 and their most field goals 43.

They should eclipse the latter two. The first number might take a late push.

Fourth quarter, 7:00, Celtics 99-87: Eddie House had been the one Celtic not in the scoring column before making a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 12.

Moments later Kevin Garnett picks up his fifth foul but Doc Rivers will stick with him for now.

Fourth quarter, 9:55, Celtics 91-81: The Paul Pierce dunk certainly seemed to fire up the fans, but the Raptors have been the ones to respond.

Toronto has outscored Boston since the dunk 9-2 and forced Doc Rivers to call timeout when Hedo Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer.

Fourth quarter, 11:40, Celtics 89-74: As damaging as the end of the third quarter was for the Raptors, the fourth begins in brutal fashion.

Paul Pierce just threw down a powerful dunk and in the process seemed to catch Chris Bosh with a foot to the mid-section.

Pierce then appeared to taunt Bosh and pick up a technical foul. Doc Rivers was handed a technical of his own for arguing the first one.

End of third quarter, Celtics 87-72: Rasheed Wallace hits a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put a fitting cap on a great third quarter for the Celtics.

It’s easy to forget that the Raptors held a four-point lead not too long ago.

After Hedo Turkoglu scored with 10:38 left in the third, Boston outscored the visitors 30-11.

Toronto had actually scored seven quick points to give themselves a bit of momentum at the end, but Wallace’s shot gives the C’s plenty of cushion.

Third quarter, 2:33, Celtics 76-64: Remember during the Celtics’ 6-0 start they had a pattern in which they came out of the locker room at the half and just steamrolled teams?

Well, it’s back tonight.

The C’s run is now at 19-3. Amir Johnson finally hit a free throw to break the Raptors’ scoring drought and then Chris Bosh hit a shot in close for Toronto’s first field goal in over seven minutes.

Everything continues to go inside for Boston, which now has 52 points in the paint. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are a combined 11-of-11 from the floor.

Third quarter, 4:53, Celtics 68-61: The Raptors have not scored in almost six minutes, missing seven shots and turning the ball over four times in that span.

Third quarter, 6:28, Celtics 66-61: It’s a 9-0 run for the C’s after Kendrick Perkins dunks on a feed from Kevin Garnett.

That strong defensive stretch — which, as I said earlier, might be the difference — is possibly upon us. The Raptors are 3-of-10 after a 67 percent first half from the floor and have three more turnovers in the stretch.

Third quarter, 7:28, Celtics 64-61: Celtics fans want continuation on a remarkably athletic play by Kevin Garnett after he was fouled and then converted on a reverse. What’s more important is the way Garnett looks. Notably absent is the leg drag of a few games ago and he got off the ground well on that one.

Third quarter, 9:30, Raptors 61-57: This has been a very uneven game for Ray Allen.

Allen had six points and two assists in the opening minutes, then was somewhat quiet the rest of the first half.

He opens the third quarter with his first 3-pointer of the game and then fails to box out rookie DeMar DeRozan, who flies in for a follow slam to give Toronto its largest lead.

Third quarter, 11:50, Raptors 55-54: Underway in the second half. Let’s see which team blinks first in this hot-shooting affair.

Halftime, Raptors 55-54: It’s somewhat hard to imagine the Celtics shooting 68 percent and forcing 14 turnovers and still trailing, but that’s the case here at the break.

They had a chance to take the lead into the locker room but could not get a shot off in time.

The Raptors have nearly matched Boston, shot for shot, burying 22-of-33 from the floor and getting three 3-pointers from Hedo Turkoglu.

Paul Pierce has taken his teammates to task after some lackluster first halves this season. They are in need of a little juice on the defensive end in this one. You get the feeling that whichever team can put together a good run of defense in the second half will come out on top.

We’ll look for that in a bit.

Second quarter, 2:56, 50-50: Boston remains intent on attacking the interior of the Raptors’ soft defense.

Kendrick Perkins just scored on a short hook and then was fed another pass with the 6-foot-3 Jarrett Jack on him.

Jack was forced to foul the big man, who will get a pair of free throws to try to snap the tie after the commercial.

The C’s have outscored Toronto in the paint 34-20.

Wes Welker was just shown on the big screen, much to the delight of the fans who anticipate the Patriots-Saints matchup on Monday night.

Second quarter, 4:31, 48-48: The C’s have cooled off this quarter, but just slightly.

They are shooting 22-of-30 (73 percent) from the floor and are 3-of-6 from beyond the arc overall.

The Raptors are not much worse, as they have buried 19-of-30 (63 percent) shots from the floor.

We could be headed for a game in the 110s, which would be two straight of that variety for Boston.

By the way, they changed a Paul Pierce 3-pointer from earlier to a two-point basket. Hence the tie.

Second quarter, 8:37, Celtics 41-37: Continuing with the Rasheed Wallace notes, he just got into it with Hedo Turkoglu as the two teams were marching to the bench.

A Celtic player got between the two but Wallace was doing most of the jawing. He has made his presence felt tonight with nine points, a technical and nearly a shoving match at halfcourt.

Keep an eye on those two guys going forward.

Second quarter, 9:25, Celtics 39-35: Underway in the second quarter and it felt like a good time for a Rasheed Wallace technical foul.

Wallace obliged by picking one up while complaining about an offensive foul.

The free throw is made, Andrea Bargnani has a basket and then the Celts turn it over again, leading to another Raptors basket.

Wallace, meanwhile, has seven points in six minutes.

End of first quarter, Celtics 33-27: Rajon Rondo’s season has been a bit up and down so far. He seems to be on in this one.

Rondo ended a great first quarter with a layup before the buzzer. He finished the first with eight points, five assists and a steal, making two rare free throws in the process. He entered having made 8-of-24 from the stripe.

The Celts, who shot 15-of-18 (83 percent), have hurt themselves with the seven giveaways, and Hedo Turkoglu, who had some nice moments against Boston in the playoffs in May, is 3-of-3 and has eight points for Toronto.

First quarter, 2:32, Celtics 24-22: The Celtics are shooting a blistering 92 percent in the early going, but have hurt themselves with six turnovers.

It seems as if the game-winner he hit Sunday in New York has spurred Kevin Garnett a bit.

He had 19 points in Wednesday’s win over Philadelphia and is 3-of-3 early on here.

First quarter, 5:27, 18-18: The Celtics continue to pound the paint, but the Raptors are matching from outside.

Boston has made 9-of-10 field goals and has scored all but two points in the paint. Its high for points in the paint this season is 60 in a loss to Phoenix earlier this month.

Toronto, meanwhile, has shot 7-of-11 and has zero turnovers to the C’s four.

Ray Allen just had an ugly one by telegraphing an entry pass to Kendrick Perkins that was easily picked off.

First quarter, 7:00, 14-14: The Celtics seem committed to attacking inside early.

Kendrick Perkins keeps that alive with a layup to snap an 8-8 tie.

Doc Rivers talked about the Raptors’ size, but some of the big men are not imposing underneath; rather, the wing players are the ones the Celts may exploit in the paint.

A dunk by Kevin Garnett and a layup by Paul Pierce add to the interior dominance.

First quarter, 9:20, Celtics 4-3: A couple of empty possessions for the C’s before Ray Allen has the first basket of the game.

Chris Bosh then chucks up an airball on the other end and Allen converts a layup to give Boston an early edge.

First quarter, 11:45, 0-0: We are underway here with the Celtics in their road greens.

Kevin Garnett travels on the opening possession for Boston.

7:03 p.m.: Greetings from TD Garden, where we are about 35 minutes or so from the Celtics-Raptors matchup.

Doc Rivers just had a very brief meeting with reporters. He said Tony Allen, who has been practicing as he tries to return from ankle surgery, is not quite ready yet.

Rivers also expressed concern for the matchup problems Toronto can provide, and its ability to hurt Boston from the perimeter. The Celtics have struggled in games in which the opponents find looks from outside.

“They can shoot. They really spread the floor,” Rivers said. “They do it a bit differently than New York and Philly. It’s more with size and matchups, kind of like what we do to [Rasheed Wallace] when he’s in.”

Starting lineups are also in. Boston goes with the standard starters of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.

The Raptors start Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, rookie DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh.

2:06 p.m.: The Celtics look for their third straight win, all against Atlantic Division opponents, when they host the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden. Tip is set for 7:30 and we will be courtside bringing you all the action.

Boston has squeaked by New York and Philadelphia this week, largely on the strength of Paul Pierce, who has 60 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists in the two games.

In Wednesday’s 113-110 win over the Sixers, Pierce also drew a late-game charge that helped lift the C’s to 4-0 in division play.

Kevin Garnett
chipped in 19 points as Boston got six players into double figures in its second-highest scoring total this season.

The Raptors have dropped five of seven and were throttled Wednesday in Charlotte, where the Bobcats posted a 116-81 win, the most lopsided in franchise history.

Chris Bosh recorded his 13th double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds in the losing effort. Hedo Turkoglu, who hurt the Celts in the playoffs in May as a member of the Orlando Magic, was held to a season-low five points.

Boston has won eight of the last nine meetings with Toronto.

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