Celtics end brief skid, demolish Toronto
Paul Pierce, given the night off in a 100-74 loss in Charlotte Tuesday, returned with 15 points in 25 minutes, as the Celtics, who lost both games of a two-game road trip, ran their record to 15-6 since losing guard Rajon Rondo for the season to a knee injury.
The Celtics, who led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter, won their 10th straight at home and have beaten the Raptors 10 straight times at TD Garden. They are 2-0 overall against Toronto this season.
The Raptors have lost seven of their last nine.
Jeff Green had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, leading a 58-point effort by the Boston bench that included 12 points from Jordan Crawford and 12 points and seven assists from Jason Terry. Kevin Garnett (a starter) had 12 points and seven rebounds and had to play only 21 minutes.
Rudy Gay, a game-time decision because of a back problem, started and had 19 points (just under his average in 17 games since being traded to Toronto) and seven rebounds in 32 minutes. DeMar DeRozan had 17 points in the loss.
Former Celtic Sebastian Telfair was ejected from the game with two technical fouls, one called with 2:58 left in the third quarter and the other called during the break between the third and fourth quarters.
Ahead by nine at the half, the Celtics scored the first four points of the third quarter to take a 53-40 lead; a perfect spot for the home team to put this game to bed. But while Boston was going almost five minutes without a basket, the Raptors ran off a 9-0 spurt and got as close as four points down on two occasions.
But four straight points by Pierce and then, after a Toronto basket, the first four points of the game by Avery Bradley and it was 68-58. The lead was up to 19 by the end of the third quarter.
Notes: The Raptors announced Wednesday that Bargnani will miss the rest of the season with a right elbow strain, this elbow injury not connected to the first one that cost him time earlier this season. With Bargnani, who was averaging 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and last played March 8, slated to make $22 million over the next two years, he is a candidate for an amnesty buyout. ... Garnett's fifth point moved him past Jerry West into 15th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, while Pierce's 10th point sent him past Charles Barkley and into 20th place on the same list. ... Boston coach Doc Rivers opened his pregame comments with, "Say it ain't so, Wes," talking about Wes Welker leaving the Patriots for Denver. ... The Celtics host the Bobcats in a quick rematch Saturday night, while Charlotte is at Toronto Friday night before coming to Boston. The Raptors then host the Heat Sunday and Miami then comes to Boston (Ray Allen Return II) Monday night. ... The Celtics picked up two technical fouls in a span of 34 seconds of the first quarter, the first for a defensive 3-second violation and other on Jason Terry for complaining about a call. ... Former Celtic Mickael Pietrus, asked if he's surprised his old team has played well without Rondo, said, "I'm not surprised at all because what they have is a great coach and a great organization."