The nitty gritty
Terrence Ross scored a team-high 24 points while connecting on five 3-pointers, while Kyle Lowry added 23 points with four triples to help the Raptors fend off a late charge by the Celtics. Jared Sullinger got hot, scoring 19 of his game-high 26 points in the final frame. Avery Bradley added 16 points (but was a minus-22 overall in plus/minus over 37 minutes), while Chris Johnson provided needed energy off the bench while scoring 13 points over 26 minutes. Rajon Rondo finished with nine points, 15 assists, four rebounds and two steals over 32 minutes.
The Celtics were down two with less than two minutes to play in the second quarter before things got away for a bit. The Raptors closed the frame on an 8-1 run to push their lead to 55-46 at the intermission, then Lowry hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half as Toronto's lead ballooned to 15. Sullinger got hot beyond the arc and Boston rallied as close as 84-81 with 5:54 to play, but Lowry & Co. kept making key shots to keep Celtics at arm's length. The Celtics clawed back within 93-90 with 1:49 to play, but Lowry and Ross hit consecutive 3-pointers to push it back out of reach.
Nine stitches for No. 9
Rondo caught an inadvertent elbow while running the baseline in the third quarter. He needed nine stitches to close a gash between his eyes, but returned in the fourth quarter. Rondo started fast, putting up double-digit assists while playing the first 15 minutes of the game. The elbow kept him off the floor for much of the third quarter and he couldn't quite help the Celtics rally all the way back.
The Celtics turned the ball over just 10 times, but couldn't fully capitalize on Toronto's 17 giveaways. ... Joel Anthony was a healthy DNP for Boston. ... Chris Babb got some first-quarter action when Jeff Green was pulled early (he played only 20 minutes overall). ... The Celtics held a moment of silence before the game to honor those that lost their lives battling the nine-alarm fire in the Back Bay on Wednesday. ... The Raptors won in Boston for the first time since Jan. 23, 2008.
What it means
The Celtics (23-48) have dropped two straight games and seven of their past eight overall. Boston shuffles into a tie with Utah for the fourth-worst record in basketball (though the Jazz host the Grizzlies late on Wednesday). The Celtics will take Thursday off before finishing this home-and-home by visiting Toronto on Friday night. A second home-and-home looms against Chicago on Sunday and Monday.