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 Celts top Raptors, end 4-game skid

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Join date : 2008-11-21

PostSubject: Celts top Raptors, end 4-game skid   Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:50 pm

TORONTO(AP) Ray Allen was on a roll, so the Boston Celtics kept going to him.Allen
scored a season-high 36 points, including eight 3-pointers, and the
Celtics withstood a late Toronto rally to beat the Raptors 94-88 on
Sunday afternoon, snapping a four-game losing streak."When Ray
gets it going, that's our focus,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Feed
the pig, that's what we always say. He was the hot guy, so we want to
keep feeding him.''Allen, who made a career-high 10 3-pointers
against Charlotte on April 14, 2002, went 8-for-10 from 3-point range
Sunday, making his first six attempts.Allen wasn't sure what to make of Rivers' farmyard metaphor."We don't want the pig to get as fat as it possibly can,'' Allen said with a laugh. "One day you have to slaughter the pig.''Paul Pierce said the Celtics know when to give Allen his turn at the trough."When
you see a player having a good night like that, it's our duty as other
players to try and get him the ball,'' Pierce said. "We just rode his
hot hand tonight.''Allen had been held below 20 points in 10 of Boston's past 11 games, but Rivers never worried about him losing his touch."It's
funny, I get so many calls saying 'What's wrong with Ray?' and I say
'There's nothing wrong with Ray, he's a great shooter, he'll be a great
shooter again and eventually make them,''' Rivers said. "That's why Ray
is great and a lot of other players in the league are good. A lot of
players will have three or four games like Ray had and go away for a
month. Ray believed the next shot had to go in. He knows he's a great
shooter and we want him to keep shooting.''Rajon Rondo had 14
points and 11 assists and Kevin Garnett added 10 points and 11
rebounds. Pierce had 11 points for Boston, which had lost seven of nine
coming in."It was the old us for a lot of stretches today, so I was happy with that,'' Rivers said.Leading
75-55 to start the fourth, the Celtics allowed Toronto to get back in
it with a 17-5 spurt that cut the gap to eight points, 80-72, with 5:52
left."We kind of let our guard down and then we couldn't control them,'' Rivers said. "They closed the game out far better than us.''Boston
held firm until Andrea Bargnani's 3-pointer made it 88-83 with 1:36
left. Jamario Moon missed a 3 on Toronto's next possession before
Pierce's jumper with 40 seconds remaining sealed the win for Boston."There's
no relief there,'' Rivers said of ending the slump. "We could have
played better and we know that. There was more good than bad by far but
we want more good all the time.''Still, the mood in Boston's
locker room was light, with Allen, Pierce and Sam Cassell crowding
their way into Garnett's media scrum and jokingly asking the star
forward to speak up.When he did speak, Garnett echoed Rivers' assessment."It's always good to win but we know we're better than what we're playing,'' he said.Bargnani led Toronto with 17 points while Chris Bosh and Moon each had 15.The Raptors, who visit Boston on Monday night, are 0-3 against the Celtics this season.Toronto
shot a season-high 55.6 percent in Wednesday's 103-82 victory over
Memphis, but struggled against Boston's stingy defense, shooting
28-for-74 (37.8 percent).Pierce injured his right knee in a
first-quarter collision with teammate Brian Scalabrine and sat out the
final 7:25 of the first quarter before returning to start the second.
Pierce wore a protective sleeve on the knee in the second half."We're
a little concerned by that because I didn't think he moved well the
rest of the game,'' Rivers said. "I was scared to take him out of the
game because I thought if I took him out in the second half, I probably
wouldn't be able to put him back in.''Pierce, who hyperextended the same knee last month, wasn't sure whether he'd be able to play Monday."We'll see how it feels after the plane ride and some rest and treatment,'' he said. "Hopefully it will get better overnight.''Scalabrine
and Toronto forward Joey Graham each picked up technical fouls in the
second after a shoving match under the Boston basket escalated into a
heated face-to-face argument at midcourt.Toronto led 12-6 after
the first three minutes, but Allen made four 3-pointers as Boston
responded with a 16-0 run, putting the Celtics up 10, 22-12. Allen made
one more 3-pointer before the quarter ended, giving Boston a 32-30 lead
after one.Allen made the only shot he took in the second, and Boston got 11 points from its bench to lead 54-41 at the half.Toronto
guard Jose Calderon returned to the starting lineup after missing the
previous four games with a strained right hamstring, scoring six points
in 22 minutes. He went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and has made 79
straight dating to last season, the third-longest streak in NBA
history. Minnesota's Micheal Williams holds the record, making 97
straight free throws in 1993.Neither Calderon nor forward
Jermaine O'Neal, who has missed seven straight games with a sore right
knee, will travel to Boston for Monday's game.Notes: Boston was
without guard Tony Allen (right ankle) and center Kendrick Perkins
(right shoulder). ... Toronto made more free throws (19) than field
goals (16) through the first three quarters.

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