Celtics Live Blog: C’s Snap Five-Game Losing Streak With 96-73 Victory Over Raptors

by NESN Staff

January 18, 2012

Celtics Live Blog: C's Snap Five-Game Losing Streak With 96-73 Victory Over RaptorsFinal, Celtics 96-73: It was all C's in the second half of this one, and the five-game skid is officially over.

The Raptors stuck around for a while, but a solid second-half effort secured the win. Boston outscored Toronto 52-35 after the break.

Rajon Rondo led the way with 21 points before exiting with a sore right wrist after crashing to the hardwood while rising up at the basket.

Brandon Bass finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Kevin Garnett added 15 points and seven boards.

The C's will look to turn this W into a winning streak on Friday night, when they host the Suns.

Fourth quarter, 2:18, 93-66: Good to see both former Purdue Boilermakers — E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson — getting minutes down the stretch. It marks the eighth appearance of the season for each.

The 93 points the C's have put up so far are the most since their Jan. 2 tilt with the Wizards, when they scored a cool century mark.

Fourth quarter, 5:49, Celtics 84-61: The Celtics bench isn't just conserving the lead late. It's adding to it.

Stiemsma knocked down a bucket, and Pietrus sunk his third 3 of the game. Pietrus is 3-for-6 from downtown tonight.

Garnett has 15 points and seven boards.

Fourth quarter, 8:33, Celtics 77-57: C's have opened their lead up to 20 after scoring 29 third-quarter points.

The Celtics appear to be in victory formation at this point, with Stiemsma, Bass, Pietrus, E'Twaun Moore and Avery Bradley on the floor.

Bass has racked up 28 minutes of action tonight, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Rondo still leads the way with 21 points, but his night is likely done.

End third quarter, Celtics 73-55: Plenty of good news to report, as Rondo appears to be fine after a few minutes of being tended to. He remained in the game to shoot both free throws. He's since exited  the game, and has been diagnosed with a sore right wrist, but he could return to action later in the quarter.

Then again, with the Celtics in control, Rondo will likely get the rest of the evening off.

Third quarter, 2:12, Celtics 68-49: Here's something you never want to see or hear: Rajon Rondo is down on the court.

Rondo drove to the basket with his usual reckless abandon, and he went crashing down to the hardwood on his backside. It looks like he landed on his wrist or elbow, and he appears to be in some serious pain, spitting his mouthpiece out immediately.

The team trainers are tending to him as the rest of the team looks on, but, obviously, the C's can't afford to lose their best player.

Third quarter, 3:31, Celtics 64-46: Paul Pierce has played pretty well tonight, or at least a lot better than the scoring numbers might indicate. He checks out of the game in favor of Mickael Pietrus, but The Truth has down a good job playing the role of facilitator.

After sinking two free throws, Bass has 10 points off the bench to go along with his six rebounds. Pietrus, meanwhile, shows why the Celtics coveted him after he was bought out, draining a 3 from the corner to give the C's their biggest lead of the night.

One of the more interesting notes of the night is that Rondo just recorded his first assist. He's been the Celtics' leading scorer tonight, but it's shocking to see his first dime come so late.

Third quarter, 7:35, Celtics 53-41: The Celtics started the second half with their starting five, and Rondo got things going with an early basket. He appeared to tweak his ankle, so we'll monitor that situation, but he appears to be moving around fine for the time being.

Allen finally got on the stat sheet by sinking a wide open 3 from the wing. Pierce was credited with this assist on that basket, his seventh of the evening. Allen had been 0-for-4 before that bucket.

The C's then extended the lead when Rondo drove to the paint, spun around Calderon, and layed it up and in. Following a Paul Pierce bucket, the Raptors appear to be reeling a bit, forcing them to take a timeout.

And with that timeout, I pose the age-old question: What'd everyone have for dinner tonight? I had chicken parm during halftime and it was delightful.

Halftime, Celtics 44-38: The C's threatened to pull away a number of times in the first half, but the Raptors keep picking themselves up off the mat.

The Raptors outscored the Celtics 24-15 in that second quarter. Jose Calderon knocked down two free throws before the break to pull within six at 44-38.

Rondo leads the way with 15 first-half points, while Garnett added 10 and O'Neal chipped in eight. DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors in scoring with 10 points.

This marks only the third time this season that the Celtics have led at halftime. Hopefully, that'll translate into bigger things over the next 24 minutes of basketball.

Also a quick note from NESN's Ben Watanabe, our usual Celtics guru: "It's a girl!" Congrats, sir!

Second quarter, 2:41, Celtics 40-31: It's always fun to watch Rajon Rondo when he dribbles around the baseline. As a defender, you just never know where the slick guard is going to go.

Bass continues to see solid minutes, putting in 14:34 of work thus far.

The Celtics are out shooting the Raptors (49 percent to 37 percent).

Also, just a quick note: this evening is Seats for Soldiers Night at TD Garden — always an awesome event. Thanks again to all the men and women who serve this country.

Second quarter, 5:45, Celtics 36-27: I like what I'm seeing out of Jermaine O'Neal tonight, which means you should like what you're seeing out of Jermaine O'Neal tonight…no pressure, though.

He's getting in there and battling on the boards, totaling six points and three rebounds so far. Mickael Pietrus and Brandon Bass have also played well off the Celtics bench.

But the Raptors are showing a great deal of fight here in the second quarter, particularly on the defensive end, where they've really been much more aggressive than the first quarter.

The C's upped their lead to the biggest of the evening, but before you could blink, the Raptors continued to chip away.

Second quarter, 8:35, Celtics 29-21: The Raptors — or 'tors as I call them (I don't really call them that) — have gone on a bit of a run here to open up the second frame.

Leandro Barbosa's layup put the Toronto run at 7-0, prompting a timeout from Doc Rivers.

End first quarter, Celtics 29-14: Rasual Butler, literally the league's worst shooter this season, scored for Toronto out of the timeout and added another 3, but it's still been all Green through 12 minutes of round ball.

The C's are such control, in fact, that Tommy's talking title. To that, I say let's take it one game at a time.

Anyway, Rondo has been his usual stellar self here early, scoring 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting. He even put an exclamation point on the first quarter with an aggressive drive and layup in the final seconds.

It's good to see the Celtics' offense finally rolling, as they entered the game 26th in the NBA in points per game. They also haven't scored more than 85 points during their five-game skid, but could be well on their way tonight.

First quarter, 2:03, Celtics 19-9: Toronto missed eight straight shots before getting back on the scoreboard.

It's clear early on, though, that the Raptors are content settling for outside jumpers, whereas the Celtics are focused on getting to the basket. You tell me what's the better game plan.

Rondo has nine points on 4 of 4 shooting thus far. Brandon Bass, meanwhile, has grabbed three rebounds as a catalyst off the bench.

First quarter, 3:56, Celtics 19-7: Raptors are just 3-for-12 in the early going, clearly settling for low-percentage shots. Rondo, meanwhile, is starting to elevate his game per usual.

After going 1-on-1 down on the block, Rondo hit the bottom of the net with a jumper. He then brought the ball back up court off a miss, before driving to the basket and unleashing a floater as he was fouled. It went home, and the point guard sunk the ensuing free throw.

First quarter, 5:07, Celtics 14-7: We've got a TV timeout, but the Celts are finding a little bit of a rhythm here.

Rajon Rondo made a nice play on the defensive end, when he stripped DeMar DeRozan, but the ref ruled that he stepped on the baseline, which gave the rock back to Toronto. Rondo more than made up for it on the offensive side of the ball, however, driving to the basket for a nifty layup.

Pierce got on the scoreboard himself via a layup, and that's where we stand.

First quarter, 6:42, Celtics 10-7: Brandon Bass checks in, as KG gets a breather after five productive minutes. Greg Stiemsma is also joining the on-court festivities in place of Jermaine O'Neal.

First quarter, 8:33, Celtics 10-7: KG and Jermaine O'Neal have provided all the offense thus far, with Garnett chipping in six points and O'Neal adding four.

The Raptors scored the first bucket of the game before the C's responded with a 6-0 run. Paul Pierce has assisted three of the Celtics' four baskets in the early going.

7:34 p.m.: Favorite part of any sporting event right here; the national anthem. If I had things my way, this would soon follow.

Anywho, how's everyone feeling about the Celtics snapping the skid against the Raptors tonight? Actually, forget that, how's everyone feel about the name "Raptors?" It's up there with the Wizards in terms of "Let's name our basketball team something 5-year-olds would enjoy" if you ask me.

7:25 p.m.: Why hello there. We're calling an audible here. With Mr. Watanabe set to add a new edition to the family, Ricky Doyle — which is the guy typing — will be bringing you all the deliciousness that is Celtics-Raptors this evening.

It's going to be a true test to fill Ben's shoes, but he's a regular-sized human, so my 8 1/2's ought to do the trick.

A good old fashion tip-off will soon commence, and from there, we'll be off and running.

8:30 a.m.: Paul Pierce looks to build off his encouraging performance from Monday, only this time he hopes it comes in a Celtics win.

The Celtics (4-8) enter Wednesday in the rare position of having to hold off the Raptors (4-10) in the standing. Boston is third in the Atlantic Division, just ahead of Toronto.

The first five-game losing streak Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have experienced together as members of the Celtics is in the books, causing concern all over Boston. Is this the end of the so-called Big Three era?

Join us for live updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.

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