Celtics bench shows mettle to beat Raptors, 76-75

Celtics bench shows mettle to beat Raptors, 76-75
December 18, 2011, 10:24 pm
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TORONTO The Boston Celtics like their bench.

After seeing them outlast the Toronto Raptor's starters down the stretch, now we all know why.

The C's squeaked out a 76-75 preseason win over the Raptors, a game whose outcome wasn't nearly as impressive as the way it came about.

Rookie center Greg Stiemsma tipped in his own miss with 12.6 seconds to play for the victory. It was fitting that the game was decided by one of the Celtics' rookies when you consider all four of them were on the floor in the game's final seconds while the Raptors played three starters.

"You couldn't ask for a better situation," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "I could see the game getting closer with about seven minutes, you could see they were making a run and I thought this was a great time to throw the young guys in and see if they could hold the lead and withstand their rush. So it was a great experience for them."

Although Stiemsma's tip-in ultimately decided the game's outcome, it was the play of fellow rookie E'Twaun Moore that stood out. Drafted in the second round of last June's NBA draft, Moore came up with a couple of clutch baskets in the game's final 1:51 -- his only two baskets of the game.

"You can see why we like E'Twaun," Rivers said. "He wanted the ball, and he took it and made big shots."

The more you see him play, the more he plays at a pace that's atypical for most rookie guards. Moore credits his comfort level to being in college for four years and spending some time in Italy during the NBA lockout.

"Basketball is basketball, no matter where it's played," he said. "That's how I feel when I'm out there on the court."

It was the first game for the Celtics since the team announced that Jeff Green would be out for the entire 2011-2012 NBA season. Green will have surgery to repair an aeortic anureism on Jan. 9.

"Jeff is just . . . it hits home because it is your little brother, it is your guy," said Boston's Kevin Garnett, who had nine points and seven rebounds while playing just over 24 minutes. "I'm just glad that it was fortunate to be caught early, and he can go ahead with his life and make some adjustments to that. I just hope everything works out for him."

Boston was led by Ray Allen's 12 points and Marquis Daniels who chipped in with 11. Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox were active off the bench, scoring nine and seven points, respectively. Toronto's Andrea Bargnani led all scorers with 14 points on 4-for-14 shooting.