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The Celtics drop their second straight game on the road in a 107-97 loss to the Raptors. The matchup was their first game after the all-star break. The Raptors boasted their revamped lineup after a trade deadline that saw them make moves for Serge Ibaka (15 pts, 7 reb) and PJ Tucker (9 pts, 10 reb).

Kyle Lowry was benched with a wrist injury, and Avery Bradley still sat on the sideline with a nagging achilles injury.

Jaylen Brown (13 pts, 5/8 FG) had a solid game, but Isaiah Thomas (20 pts, 6/17 FG, 3-for-10 from three) struggled, and couldn't step up in the fourth quarter.

Out of the gate, the C's defense was on point. Boston capitalized on a handful of turnovers to build an early lead in the first quarter. The Celtics also locked down the Raps behind the arc in the opening frame, holding them to only three attempts. Only three Raptors made it into the scoring column in the first, and the Celtics headed to the second up 29-18.

DeMar DeRozan (43 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast) had a fantastic first quarter, and after a short rest continued that into the next period. His team also started to help him out. The Raptors couldn't quite get over the hump, though, and kept struggling to cut the deficit to single digits. Turnovers continued to plague them, and the Celtics took advantage of the extra possessions. James Young came away with a loose ball, sprinted down the floor, and flushed home an uncontested dunk at the other end, which summed up the Raptors struggles in the first half.

Before the end of the half, things started to get chippy. On a drive to the hoop, Isaiah took a shove to the back from DeMarre Carroll, and IT spun around to get in his face. Jae Crowder also came running to the little guys aid and a double tech was called. Celtics strike at the line, and head to the locker room for the half up 10, 55-45.

Second Half

The Celtics and Raptors have gone head-to-head three times this season going into this game, and not once has the team leading at halftime finished with the W. Only makes sense, then, that the Raptors came out swinging in the third. Trailing by 10 at the start of the quarter, DeRozan continued to dominate. He had 19 in the first half and opened up the scoring in the second.

This is when the Raptors caught fire. About halfway through the third, new-Raptor, Serge Ibaka rimmed home a three to give Toronto its first lead since the opening minutes. It became a hard fought battle from this point on. Brad Stevens opted to rest IT in the closing minutes of the frame to set up Mr. Fourth Quarter, and Marcus Smart stepped up to keep the C's in the game.

Trailing by 2 with a little over two minutes left in the period, Marcus scored the last 5 points of the quarter to retake the lead heading into the fourth.

Do you know what time it is?

Isaiah had 16 points through the first 36 minutes. Stevens unleashed IT right at the open of the fourth, but aggressive D from Cory Joseph bottled the little guy up through the first four minutes. The entire Celtics offense seemed disrupted by tenacious defense.

That's when DeMar DeRozan heated up again.

More than halfway through the fourth, DeRozan made a strong move to the rim and finished the finger-roll to cut the Celtics lead to 2. On the other end, Thomas put up a bad three-point attempt and the Raptors secured the rebound, and DeRozan did it again, this time with a nasty reverse layup. Tie game, 88 a piece.

Then after an Isaiah turnover when he found himself in a triple team under the basket, Carroll sank a three to give the Raptors the late-game lead.

Celtics trailing by 3 with two minutes to go, Joseph knocked down a stepback jumper to extend it to 5, but Crowder answered on the other end with a bucket that was ruled a two.

Celtics needed a stop. After a video review for possession with just about a minute to go, DeRozan knocked down a deep 2 and it was a two possession game. Smart missed the three on the other end and the C's couldn't pull it out from there.

A few fouls gave the Celtics a few more chances, and Smart was able to convert an and-one, but Boston couldn't overcome the Raptors free-throw shooting. They drop their second straight game and their record moves to 37-21

Final: 107-97.

Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports 

Topher Lane 2/24/2017 10:52:00 PM Edit
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