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The last time I was certain the Celtics would lose was during their franchise-worst 24-58 season in 2006-2007. Somewhere in the first half of the infamous 18-game losing streak, I stopped thinking the Celtics would lose every night, in part because teams usually don’t lose that many games in a row in any sport, period. And lately…it was hard to assume a Celtics loss considering the team’s recent success. But, despite that recent history, I’ll admit it: I expected the Celtics to lose Saturday night at home to the Raptors.
Good thing I didn’t wager whatever’s left of my life savings on that expectation. The Celtics, who were on a three-game skid, were playing without Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. Three fifths of their starting lineup was out with injuries, and the team was also without Marquis Daniels. In addition, the Raptors shot 49.3% as a team in the game. Would you seriously pick the Celtics to win Saturday against all those odds? If so, you’re either a psychic or a good friend of Tim Donaghy.
Despite my reluctance to admit I was wrong (yes, it didn’t come until this third paragraph), I will come clean. The injury-ravaged Celtics defeated the relatively healthy Raptors 103-96.
Ray Allen led the Celtics with 23 points, and fellow veteran Rasheed Wallace added 16 points and six rebounds to help steer the team to victory. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins pitched in 14 points, 10 rebounds, and one block.
Doc Rivers opted to go with the three-guard, two-center starting lineup, meaning both Tony Allen and J.R. Giddens saw significant floor time. Giddens, who has averaged 3.3 minutes per game in his two-year tenure in the league, got in a career-high 20 minutes on Saturday. He finished with a silently productive stat line: 1-3 from the field with two points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one blocked shot.
T.A., who started in place of the injured Paul Pierce, finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and a team-high seven assists (I guess somebody has to pass the ball). He’s been relatively solid since returning from injury, averaging 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.
Off the bench for the Celtics, Eddie House finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Glen Davis returned from injury to score 15 points and grab five rebounds. Seldom-used Lester Hudson even played meaningful fourth quarter minutes, finishing with five points, two rebounds, and two assists.
Chris Bosh led the way for the Raptors with a game-high 25 points to go with nine rebounds. Andrea Bargnani finished with 21 points, while Hedo Turkoglu finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Next up for the Celtics is a date with the Miami Heat on Wednesday. It looks like Kevin Garnett won’t be avaible, as he’s due to miss the next 10 days due to a sore right knee.