Celtics beat Raptors 88-83 to end 9-game losing streak

Celtics beat Raptors 88-83 to end 9-game losing streak
January 15, 2014, 10:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON — There's no such thing as a safe lead for the Celtics, home or away.

Keeping true to form, Boston had the Toronto Raptors soundly beaten, only to give them life in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night.

Boston's comfortable double-digit became extremely cramped in the final minutes.

However, the Celtics did just enough at both ends of the floor to end their nine-game losing streak with an 88-83 victory.

Although he missed two free throws with 38 seconds to play, that was about the only thing that didn't go right for Jared Sullinger, who finished with 25 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to go with four assists.

And of course there was Avery Bradley, who finished with 20 points.

Having lost nine straight coming in, Boston was more short-handed than usual following the three-team trade earlier in the day which sent starting point guard Jordan Crawford and backup guard MarShon Brooks to Golden State.

The player Boston acquired in the deal, Joel Anthony from Miami, was not with the team.

Even with a less-than-full strength roster, Boston led by as many as 18 points and took a 73-56 lead into the fourth.

Within minutes, Boston's lead was down to just 11 points following a 3-pointer by Toronto's Steve Novak.

The Raptors were able to get Boston's lead to single digits following a three-point play by Amir Johnson that made it a 75-67 game with 6:49 to play.

Johnson, who finished with six points and five rebounds before fouling out, brought the Raptors even closer by splitting a pair of free throws that made it a seven-point game with 6:20 to play.

The Raptors rally continued as Novak would soon drill another 3-pointer that made it a one-possession game, 77-74, with 4:05 to play.

Still, in the end, it was the Celtics showing some late-game composure to get the win.

Of course, their free throw "defense" helped as well, with the Raptors - one of the NBA's top free throw shooting teams - converting just 12 of their 25 free throws (48 percent) in the loss.