Bench steps in, gives starters nice rest

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Bench steps in, gives starters nice rest

BOSTON -- In an ideal situation, the Boston Celtics would build big enough leads so that the veteran starters could get rest in the fourth quarter while their bench closes out the game.

But this condensed season has not been an ideal situation for the Celtics, who have found themselves trying to dig their way out of early deficits late in the game, many times to no avail.

The Cs entered Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors on a five-game losing streak, a stretch that has included significant minutes from the starters and little opportunities for breaks.

After jumping out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter and pushing their advantage up to 27 points, the Celtics starters got the break they needed as the bench took care of the rest in their 96-73 victory over the Raptors.

Kevin Garnett played less than 25 minutes while backup power forward Brandon Bass played 31. Mickael Pietrus played only 30 seconds less than Paul Pierce, both around 23 minutes. Jermaine ONeal played just over 21 minutes as Greg Stiemsma was on the court for 14.

And once Rajon Rondo left the game with a sore right wrist, Avery Bradley and ETwaun Moore handled the backcourt, combining for nearly 30 minutes.

Marquis Daniels (12 minutes) and JaJuan Johnson (six minutes) also spelled minutes for the starters. By the end of the game, Sasha Pavlovic was the only member of the Celtics who did not play. (Keyon Dooling and Chris Wilcox were inactive with injuries.)

Theyre young and athletic and they run around just as fast as they can, said Doc Rivers. JaJuan is just so darn athletic. I mean, he had a blocked shot attempt that was just, it should be on TV. He didnt get it, but I dont even know where he came from. Like I said the other day with him and Avery and ETwaun, you know their minutes have been scattered, but theyve had a great spirit, they work every day, and thats all you can ask as a coach.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

Quotes, Notes and Stars of the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Angels

Quotes

"It's a joke. That's a brutal call for whoever's back in New York looking at it.'' - Mike Scioscia on decision not to cite fan interference on ground-rule double in the ninth.

"We played with 26 players tonight. I was like, 'Yes!''' - David Ortiz on the fan who touched Daniel Nava's double.

"If I had to go back and do it all over again, I probably would have just thrown a knuckleball. I didn't want to walk a guy, but I've got to think about the bigger picture and just swallow the walk.'' - Steven Wright, on the fastball thrown to C.J. Cron, who hit a grand slam.

Notes

* David Ortiz moved into 19th place all-time in home runs with No. 522, breaking a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

* Ortiz collected his 2,000th hit as a member of the Red Sox, something only six other players in history have accomplished.

* Ortiz also passed Thomas in career RBI with 1,704, good for 23rd place.

* Ortiz extended his Fenway hitting streak to 18 games. He's reached base at home in every home game since April 29.

* Steven Wright has allowed just six homers all season, but three have come in the last four games. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox teammates to record 100 hits each before the team's 81st game since 1988 when four players did so - Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Marty Barrett.

* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the Angels.

* The game marked the 47th time in first 79 games that the Sox have collected 10 or more hits. That leads the majors, with Kansas City and Detroit next at 39.

* The Sox are 23-9 in Brock Holt's starts.

Stars

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz had a three-hit game with two singles and a homer, the last of which was his 2,000th hit in a Red Sox uniform. The homer also was career home run No. 522, moving him past three Hall of Famers into 19th place all-time.

2) Brock Holt

Holt announced his presence loud and clear with two doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and an assist from the outfield.

3) C.J. Cron

Cron made things mighty interesting with one swing of the bat in the sixth, driving a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam that brought the Angels back to within a run.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics meeting with Al Horford "went very well"

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Report: Celtics meeting with Al Horford "went very well"

The Boston Celtics' meeting with free agent center Al Horford "went very well," a source told The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach.

The source also added that the Celtics have a "good chance" of signing Horford.

Horford is expected to demand a max contract valued at roughly four-years, $113 million.

Multiple other reports suggest the Hawks have resisted offering Horford a max, though they are working to clear space to re-sign him.

Dupont on Backes: B's won't have any problem with this deal

Dupont on Backes: B's won't have any problem with this deal

Kevin Paul Dupont joins Sports Tonight to discuss the Bruins signing former St. Louis Blue David Backes to a 5-year, $30 million deal.