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Game 35: Raptors (14-23) at Celtics (27-7)

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  January 7, 2011 04:12 PM

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Pierce Dunk.JPG

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Celtics (27-7), Raptors (14-23)

Broadcast info: CSN, WEEI

Probable starters:

Celtics:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Glen Davis
C: Shaquille O'Neal

Raptors:
PG: Jose Calderon
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Amir Johnson
PF: Linas Kleiza
C: Joey Dorsey

Storylines:

Pierce reaping the benefits: In the three games since Rajon Rondo returned to the lineup on Sunday, Paul Pierce has averaged 23.7 points a night, well over his clip for the season (19 a night). He hasn't had to work as hard to put up numbers, either, taking an average of 13.6 shots a night with Rondo back and shooting 61 percent from the floor and 67 percent from 3, and the handful of dunks he's thrown down shows he's not feeling any effects from that minor ankle sprain last Sunday.

Erden's still sick: Semih Erden hasn't played since December 22 against Philadelphia, and initially it was because of an upper respiratory infection. He was still feeling the effects of it last week in Detroit, but it's uncertain whether sickness is the only thing still keeping him out of the lineup or not. In the meantime, Jermaine O'Neal's minutes have increased over the past few games and Rivers is pleased with what O'Neal's been giving the team defensively.

Wrapping up the season series: Playing the Raptors for the second time this week, the Celtics can scratch off one division opponent for the rest of the season. The Celtics have won 10 of the last 11 meetings against the Raptors going back to November 2008. Their loss to Toronto earlier this season was the catalyst for their 14-game winning streak. The Celtics have a five-game winning streak against the Raptors at the Garden.

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