Celtics crush Raptors, 100-64

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Celtics crush Raptors, 100-64

BOSTON Beat 'em down. And then beat 'em down some more.

The Boston Celtics have seen their share of weak foes this year.

But it wasn't until Wednesday night's 100-64 thumping of the Toronto Raptors did they crush an opponent from the opening tip until the final horn sounded.

It was the kind of win that the C's (11-10) of old, are used to delivering against a Raptors team that's once again in rebuilding mode.

Even Kevin Garnett, who does a little bit of everything most nights, had a new trick for the Garden faithful.

With time running out in the second half, Garnett launched a contested 3-pointer that went in.

It was only his fifth (in 30 tries) 3-pointer as a Celtic, which gave Boston a commanding 57-35 lead.

Boston's lead ballooned past the 30-point plateau in the second half, and seemed to only grow over time. A big part of the Celtics' success was the 3-point shot, as the C's connected on a season-high 12 3-pointers.

Bolting out to such a huge lead had a much different feel about it compared to Tuesday's game in Cleveland, a game in which the Celtics led by as many as 22 points in the second half only to see that lead cut to as little as two points late in the fourth quarter before holding on for a 93-90 win.

The C's had no thoughts about Tuesday's game or any game in the past for that matter, against the Raptors.

Their focus was to do the best with what they had, as they continue to play short-handed.

Playing without Rajon Rondo (wrist) for the eighth straight game, his replacements -- Avery Bradley and E'Twaun Moore -- continue to show the kind of growth the C's like to see from its young players.

Bradley, who has been one of the C's better defenders, tied a season-high with 11 points. And Moore, more of a playmaker than defender, had eight points.

Paul Pierce led all scorers with 17 points to go with six rebounds and eight assists. The Raptors were led by Jerryd Bayless' 14 points, and Ed Davis' double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.