BOSTON — This season has been filled with serendipitous moments for Celtics wing Chris Johnson, with Wednesday against Toronto being no exception.
Jeff Green's stiff neck afforded Johnson more court time than usual and the 6-6 Johnson made the most of it.
Still, his performance was not enough as the Celtics dropped a 99-90 loss to the Raptors.
Johnson, who played 26 minutes, just four shy of his career-high 30 at Washington on Jan. 22, finished with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field.
"Chris was ready and played great," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "Had a couple looks late, but also played with great energy late, came up with loose balls."
It was the kind of performance that he has been delivering since coming to Boston, the kind of performance Jared Sullinger - a former high school rival and AAU teammate - is accustomed to seeing.
"He does it everyday," Sullinger said. "I'm happy it's paying off for him."
For all the praise that Johnson has received for his hustle and overall effort, Stevens paid him the greatest kind of praise following Wednesday's loss that any player at any level can receive.
"Chris makes us better, there's no question about that," Stevens said.
And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the loss to Toronto.
For long stretches in the fourth quarter, Sullinger single-handedly carried the Celtics and gave them a realistic shot at the upset. He would finish with a game-high 26 points to go with eight rebounds.
Not even a cut requiring nine stitches could keep No. 9 from returning to the floor in the fourth quarter. His return certainly bolstered Boston's chances at the upset. Still, it was his overall play that helped keep the Celtics in the game. He finished with a near double-double of nine points and 15 assists to go with 15 rebounds to just one turnover.
It's rare that "Hump Day" isn't a good day for Kris Humpries. But on Wednesday, the usually effective big man just didn't have it going early for Boston. And that meant fewer minutes later in the game as he finished with just four points on 1-for-6 shooting, along with four rebounds.
Celtics' 3-point defense
The Raptors not only shot a high percentage from 3-point range (47.8 percent on 11-for-23 shooting), but they hit them when they counted most. Kyle Lowry began the third quarter with back-to-back 3s, and back-to-back 3s by Lowry and Terrance Ross (team-high 24 points) sealed the Toronto win.