Final: Celtics 103, Raptors 96 Who needs the Big Three? The Celtics were down three starters but played a complete team game tonight agaist Toronto, defeating the Raptors 103-96 at TD Garden.
The Celtics played without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo Saturday night but mustered up enough effort to beat the Raptors. Ray Allen, the only healthy member of the usual Three, led the Celtics with 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting.
But the story of the night was the Celtics bench. The Celtics used 10 players for double-digit minutes against the Raptors. J.R. Giddens was in the starting lineup. And rookie Lester Hudson, who has been shuttling back and forth between the Celtics and Maine Red Claws, had 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists for Boston. All 10 players chipped in to help Boston shoot 51.4 percent from the floor on the night.
The Celtics ended a three-game losing streak with the win, though it doesn’t get easier from here, with Pierce and Garnett expected to miss more time..
3:00 4th quarter, Celtics 92-83 A couple of big momentum plays for the Celtics — a dunk by Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen drawing an offensive foul on Marcus Banks — and the Celtics are nearer to closing this game out. Allen came up holding his left arm, though he is staying in the game after this timeout.
6:15 4th quarter, Celtics 86-79 The Celtics are vigorously trying to isolate Kendrick Perkins on Andrea Bargnani down low, and the former No. 1 pick is doing his best to grab, hold, kick, and bite Perkins off the block. Perkins has 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting but has not gotten enough touches.
8:30 4th quarter, Celtics 83-74 Lester Hudson (5 points) has done a nice job in 13 minutes off the bench for the Celtics. Is there any drawback to playing Hudson 15-20 minutes in a game like this? Didn’t think so.
END 3d quarter, Celtics 78-67: It’s almost like fans here are just waiting for the Celtics to collapse in the fourth quarter. Seems like they haven’t done enough to earn an 11-point lead without three starters, but here they are, with the lead, looking strong. Strong team effort so far by the C’s — six players have scored nine points or more.
2:57 3d quarter, Celtics 70-62: Ray Allen has a very efficient 16 points on 5 of 8 shooting. The Celtics are right at 50 percent as a team.
5:06 3d quarter, Celtics 68-58: Celtics have done a good job getting out of the foul trouble they had in the first quarter. Perkins and Allen still with two personals.
9:30 3d quarter, Celtics 62-53: Great finish by Tony Allen on the break, hanging in the air, absorbing contact, and laying it in softly. He’s improved leaps and bounds in the body control category.
Halftime: Celtics 58-48: Despite missing three starters, the Celtics found their groove in the second quarter and have opened up a surprising lead on the Raptors.
Rasheed Wallace leads the Celtics with 12 points, joined in double figures by Ray Allen with 10. Off the bench, Eddie House and Glen Davis chipped in with nine apiece.
4:13 2d quarter, Celtics 45-40: Back-to-back jumpers by Eddie House had the building a little more excited, until a technical foul by Rasheed Wallace (his 10th of the season) sobered everyone up.
7:53 2d quarter, Celtics 33-32: The only available Celtics player who hasn’t seen the court so far tonight is Bill Walker.
9:22 2d quarter, Celtics 31-29: Glen Davis took it hard to the rim, made a bucket, and drew a foul, but he was just 1 of 5 from the field before that. Not good for a player who shoots from two feet and in.
END 1st quarter, Celtics 29-27: A surprisingly pretty first quarter — Celtics at 47-percent shooting, Raptors at 50 percent. Foul trouble could be an issue later in the game: Kendrick Perkins, Ray Allen, and Glen Davis all have two personals.
1:54 1st quarter, Celtics 29-20: It’s been a mixed bag without Rajon Rondo at the point. Ray Allen and Tony Allen have two assists apiece, while J.R. Giddens has one, giving the Celtics five assists as a team compared to four turnovers.
One disgruntled fan yelled, “Way to set up the offense, Tony” after a little too much dribbling by Allen led to a terrible shot by Eddie House.
4:46 1st quarter, Celtics 17-12: Rasheed Wallace stretched Toronto’s defense with a three to put the Celtics up five. Interesting to watch the Celtics when you’re not really sure where the offense will come from.
7:31 1st quarter, Celtics 10-6: Kendrick Perkins sits down with two fouls, replaced by Glen Davis. Thank goodness Davis is available tonight.
7:57 1st quarter, Celtics 10-6: All five Celtics starters have a bucket. Maybe this lineup is better after all.
Pregame: It’s the first time we’ve had starters from New Mexico and Oklahoma State announced for the Celtics. Fans weren’t exactly giddy with the novelty of it.
Tonight’s Boston.com trivia question and answer: The last Saturday night home game for the Celtics was in 2000, when the C’s played Orlando. The Magic were coached by: Doc Rivers.