NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, November 17th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (2-6) at Boston Celtics (5-4), 12:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors needed a few days off after a dreadful fourth quarter last time out nearly cost them just their second victory of the season.
The Boston Celtics may need a couple of more days to get their star point guard back on the floor.
The Raptors hope to snap an eight-game slide in Boston Saturday afternoon and face a Celtics team that is likely without Rajon Rondo once again.
After dropping a 140-133 triple-overtime decision at home to the Utah Jazz on Monday, Toronto headed to Indiana the following day to battle the Pacers. The Raptors came out fast and led by eight following the first and maintained control until going cold in the fourth frame.
The Raptors shot just 1-of-15 from the field in the fourth and netted only five points, but survived some late scares and held on for a 74-72 triumph. The five points were the fewest ever scored by a team in the fourth quarter in a victory in the shot-clock era.
Without Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields, Jose Calderon stepped up with his first career triple-double. He had 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan netted 15 to help Toronto snap a four-game slide with its first road win of the season (1-3).
"We deserved to win this game," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said.
Though the Raptors got some rest, they won't be getting healthy bodies back. Lowry, who has already missed four games, is out another 1-to-2 weeks with a right foot injury, while Fields remains out following a procedure on his right elbow.
Swingman Alan Anderson is also slated to miss 3-to-6 weeks with a foot injury, meaning the likes of Calderon, DeRozan and Terrence Ross will need to step up in the backcourt. Calderon has logged 10-or-more points and assists in three straight games.
"Our rotation is not going to look like our normal rotation by no means whatsoever, but the NBA season goes on," Casey said after practice on Thursday. "Like I told our guys, this is an opportunity for the guys who weren't getting big minutes to come out and have an opportunity to play and produce."
The Raptors have had trouble producing in Boston, where they haven't won since Jan. 23, 2008. They have lost eight in a row there, including both contests at TD Garden a season ago.
Toronto did earn a split of the season series by winning both encounters against Boston at home.
The Raptors hope that the likeliness of Rondo missing a second straight game due to a sprained right ankle will better their chances of picking up a win. Rondo, who leads the NBA with 12.6 assists per game, suffered his injury in Wednesday's home win over Utah, then sat out a 102-97 setback at the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
Boston saw Brooklyn rip down 18 offensive rebounds and had a three-game win streak snapped despite outscoring the Nets 29-15 in the third thanks to a poor start.
"I was disappointed with our effort in the first half," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "I thought they just kicked out butts in the first half."
Paul Pierce had 22 points and seven rebounds while Leandro Barbosa added 17 points in getting the start in place of Rondo, who is day-to-day.
Boston's playbook is limited without Rondo, the team's lone true point guard. Barbosa and Jason Terry will try to fill the void, but Rivers will have to simplify the offense for certain.
Rondo managed to log 10 assists versus the Jazz, extending his streak of games with 10 or more assists to 32 in a row. That is the third-longest such streak in league history.
11/17 10:37:15 ET