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Celtics Kick Off Abbreviated Preseason With Close Win in Toronto

Boston Celtics' Brandon Bass, left, hangs from the basket after scoring as Toronto Raptors' Amir Johnson looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball preseason game in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Boston Celtics basketball finally got underway Sunday in Toronto, with Boston narrowly coming out on top 76-75. The game featured Boston blowing another double-digit lead like they many times last season, but the Celtics just managed to hold off a potential buzzer beater to walk away with the victory. In fact, Toronto scored the first four points before Marquis Daniels made one free throw 2:27 in. Boston kept it close for the next few minutes before tying the game 4:44 in and taking the lead 36 seconds later. Boston took advantage of a Toronto 0/5-with-a-turnover scoreless stretch that lasted 4:00 to take a six-point lead, but Toronto closed the lead back to one by the end of the 1st Quarter.

After Toronto got a quick bucket 17 seconds into the next quarter, both teams had trouble, with neither team getting a point for the next 3:40, thanks to a dunk from the newly acquired Brandon Bass. After some back-and-forth, the Celtics managed to stretch their lead to 36-24 with 2:18 to go in the half, but Toronto finagled it back to 40-33 by halftime.

Toronto tried coming back with an early three in the 3rd Quarter, but another stretch of 4:03 without a field goal allowed Boston to get to a 10-point lead, which went back and forth between eight and ten with some trade-off baskets. Each team struggled from there, with both having a few streaks of around two minutes without baskets; by the time the buzzer sounded to signal 12 minutes to go, Boston was still up by 10, 61-51.

Boston extended their lead to 65-51, their biggest lead of the game, to start the quarter, though the possessions were labored and difficult to make productive. Toronto struggled too, but they slowly started to pass those struggles to Boston. The Celtics had even more trouble scoring, while Toronto stepped up their game. After a 5:46 stretch without a Celtics field goal, Boston gave away the lead, but E’Twaun Moore finally gave Boston a field goal to take the lead back, 72-71, with 1:51 remaining.

The teams traded a few leads after that point, and Toronto wound up with the final possession, down by one. Two last-second jump shots just wouldn’t fall, though, and Boston held on for the exciting win.

C’s Stud of the Game: Team Effort

Everybody chipped in during this contest. Rajon Rondo gave assists, Ray Allen gave points and threes, Jermaine O’Neal scored free throws, Kevin Garnett had rebounds, and even Marquis Daniels contributed 11 points, not to mention some decent bench minutes.

C’s Dud of the Game: Gilbert Brown

In 11:38 of scoreless court time, Brown was 0/3 and racked up a foul for his efforts.

Game Notes:

  • Scoring Leaders: Andrea Bargnani (TOR 16), DeMar DeRozan (TOR 14), Ray Allen (BOS 12)
  • Field Goal Leaders: Ed Davis (TOR 5/7), Marquis Daniels (BOS 5/7), DeMar DeRozan (TOR 5/10)
  • Three Point Leaders: DeMar DeRozan (TOR 2/2), Ray Allen (BOS 2/3), Andrea Bargnani (TOR 2/3)
  • Free Throw Leaders: Andrea Bargnani (TOR 6/7), Jermaine O’Neal (BOS 4/4), Avery Bradley (BOS 4/4)
  • Rebound Leaders: Ed Davis (TOR 10), Andrea Bargnani (TOR 9), Kevin Garnett (BOS 7)
  • Assist Leaders: Rajon Rondo (BOS 8), Jose Calderon (TOR 6), Gary Forbes (TOR 4)
  • Steal Leaders: Rajon Rondo (BOS 4), Brandon Bass (BOS 3), Leandro Barbosa (TOR 2), Jose Calderon (TOR 2)
  • Block Leaders: James Johnson (TOR 4), Jermaine O’Neal (BOS 2), Brandon Bass (BOS 2)
  • Foul-outs: none
  • Technical Fouls: none
  • Turnovers: TOR 21, BOS 16

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