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Celtics top Raptors 88-83, end long skid

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BOSTON (AP) - Jared Sullinger scored 25 points and grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds, Avery Bradley had 20 points and the Boston Celtics held on to snap a nine-game losing streak with an 88-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

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Jeff Green scored 13 points and Kris Humphries 12 for the Celtics, who nearly blew an 18-point, second-half lead.

Sullinger's 20-20 was the first by a Celtics player since Kevin Garnett's first game in Boston in 2007. Garnett was dealt - along with Paul Pierce - to Brooklyn during the offseason.

DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and Kyle Lowry had 18 with 12 assists for Toronto, which lost for just the third time in 11 games.

Trailing 73-56 entering the final quarter, the Raptors scored 18 of the first 22 points to close the gap to 77-74 on Steve Novak's 3 from the left corner with 4 1/2 minutes to play. Boston missed 13 of its first 15 shots in the opening eight minutes of the fourth.

The Raptors nailed three 3-pointers as they made their charge, with Novak hitting two and John Salmons the other.

After Toronto cut it to three, Green scored on a drive, hit one free throw and Sullinger nailed two from the line and Boston had enough to hold off the Raptors.

Toronto had it down to 81-78, but DeRozan lost the ball on a drive with about 40 seconds left.

Sullinger went 4 or 4 from the line in the final 30 seconds.

Boston led by four at halftime and pushed it to 53-44 on Sullinger's one-handed flip in the lane five minutes into the third quarter and used a 18-5 run late to open a 71-53 advantage on Sullinger's putback with 25 seconds left in the quarter. Sullinger's turnaround, 13-footer gave the Celtics a 73-56 after three.

The Celtics won for just the second time in 14 games on a day they shook up their roster a bit more. Earlier Wednesday, Boston sent guards Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State in a three-team trade, getting back center Joel Anthony from Miami, a conditional future Philadelphia first round draft pick, the Heat's 2016 second round pick and cash.

Last week, they were also part of a three-team trade, shipping guard Courtney Lee to Memphis and getting guard Jerryd Bayless in return.

But they could have starting point guard Rajon Rondo back in action as soon as Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. He went through a workout on Wednesday and was dressed in warmups, sitting on the bench after going through drills just before tip-off. He's been sidelined since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last Jan. 25.

The fans were chanting ''Rondo! Rondo!'' with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.

Neither team led by more than five points in a first quarter that had 12 lead changes. It stayed like that in the second when it swapped nine times before Bradley's basket and two free throws in the closing minute gave the Celtics a 45-41 halftime edge.

NOTES: Celtics reserve guard Keith Bogans has been excused from the team for unspecified personal reasons. ''I don't want to get into specifics. He's excused from the team right now,'' Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game. ''I personally like Keith. That's where I'll leave it.'' Asked if he expected home to return Stevens said: ''Undecided. Unknown.'' ... The Raptors beat the Celtics at home on opening night in the only other meeting this season. They play again March 26 and 28, the first date in Boston. ... Toronto fell to 10-3 when it hits 10 or more 3s after hitting 11. ... Bradley bruised his right hand early in the game, went to the locker room, but returned to the floor in the second quarter. ... Raptors forward Amir Johnson tweaked his ankle in the third, had it taped and returned.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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