Celtics fall to Raptors in Toronto 109-96

TORONTO -- For the second game in a row the Celtics go into battle without Jeff Green, this time against Toronto. Despite a highly competitive game that was a lot more entertaining than the final score would have you believe, the Celtics lost to the Raptors 109 to 96.

Offensively, the Celtics played well, but had trouble containing Toronto on the other side of the ball. It also didn’t help that the rim was an ocean for Toronto beyond the arc.

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Since mid-December, the Celtics landscape has changed dramatically. On Friday, Jeff Green was pulled off the court in Indiana prior to the tip as a the team has all but completed a trade that will send him to Memphis.  Despite lacking depth on the bench and limited veteran leadership, this Boston team is starting to gel with an uptempo, aggressive style of play. Jae Crowder, whose aggressive play has seen him go from deep bench to starting line up in a matter of about a week and a half, again got the start at the small forward.

In order for this team to compete at any level, they HAVE to stay aggressive in the second half. The Celtics began the third quarter with a nice offensive flurry, but they weren’t the only ones unfortunately. The Raptors were able to build a 10 point lead in the third, maintained, and built upon that lead throughout the second half.

Both the energy and the effort are there, however the Celtics just so happened to be playing without their leading point scorer, a limited bench, and were up against an Eastern Conference powerhouse on their home turf, and they determined to snap a 4-game losing streak.

Given the current state of the Celtics, this game was more competitive than I was expecting. Lots of things to point to as “growth”... just not the point total in the box score.

Looking Ahead, the Celtics face arguably one of their toughest homestands this week as they go up against New Orleans on Monday, Atlanta on Wednesday, and Chicago on Friday. Depending on what happens with the Jeff Green trade, we could see some new blood on the bench this week.

Follow Padraic O'Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor

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