Celtics training camp taking shape

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Celtics training camp taking shape

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics' training camp is just about complete with the addition of three big men to the roster. Michael Sweetney, Jamal Sampson and Greg Stiemsma have all been invited to camp which is scheduled to begin Friday afternoon.

For Sweetney, this will be his second training camp with the Celtics. He was with the C's two years ago, but was cut shortly before the season started. The former lottery pick spent two seasons with the New York Knicks before being traded to Chicago, which is where he played for another two seasons.

His size (6-foot-8, 275) is certainly somewhat intriguing to the C's, but the issue with him has always been -- and will continue to be -- his level of conditioning. If he comes into camp in good shape and proves to be productive, he has a very good shot of sticking.

Sampson is just 28 years old, but the former second-round pick definitely qualifies as an NBA journeyman having played five seasons with five different teams. The nephew of former Houston Rockets great Ralph Sampson, Jamal left Cal after one season and has never found his niche in the NBA. In 72 games, he has averaged 2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

Stiemsma is the one camp invitee that few outside of the Celtics scouting department, have ever heard of.

A 6-foot-11 center who played at Wisconsin, the 26-year-old center has never played in the NBA.

However, he has proven to be a better-than-average rebounder in the D-League.

In two seasons with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, he averaged 8.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks while appearing in 46 games.

In addition to the six players the Celtics had under contract heading into this season (Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Avery Bradley and Jermaine O'Neal), Boston also plans on having their rookie draft picks Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore as well as undrafted rookie Gilbert Brown. Training camp will also welcome the return of Marquis Daniels, who has agreed to a one-year deal with the C's. That bring the Celtics' training camp total to 13, with players likely to be added and subtracted between now and the season opener at New York on Christmas Day.

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Chris Mannix helps break down what the Boston Celtics could do with all the cap space this offseason in hopes that they can build a championship team to compete next season.