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Depleted Raptors Unable to Overcome Celtics, Head into All-Star Break

The Toronto Raptors need to click the re-set button.

Not in the sense that they need another culture shock, but they most definitely need to rest up and get healthy as they crawled their way to the All-Star break.

Depleted and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Raptors were lifeless on defense, allowing the Boston Celtics to shoot a whopping 61 percent from the field en route to a 132-125 defeat. What are normally scrappy and rugged contests, the Raptors simply couldn’t get any stops against their arch rivals and now enter the break at 17-19.

“I thought we definitely let one slip the night before against Detroit. We didn’t play as well. We weren’t locked in. I think we flipped the switch from start to finish of this game, battling through every run and battling through whatever it was,” said Norman Powell, who scored 25 points in the loss. “Staying together, talking to one another, holding each other accountable. We gave ourselves a chance to win down the stretch. A couple of tough calls, a couple of bad bounces didn’t go our way, a couple of good shots that didn’t go in. But I thought the guys competed. We got to continue to play like that no matter who is in or out of the lineup. I thought we did a great job today.”

The Raptors received 30 points from Chris Boucher and 22 from Terence Davis off the bench, but a tough third quarter cost the Raptors the chance to get back to .500. The effort was there tonight, but the execution and results were not.

“I can only say that I am really, really proud of the effort our players threw on the floor tonight. We were really a different team from yesterday,” said Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo. “We really fought on most of the possessions, we shared the ball, 36 assists vs. 17 yesterday which I think is a number that reflects in the difference in the two games.

“Defensively we tried hard. We did some mistakes; they are some great players who can create a shot of their own even when they are really well guarded. I think we really played bad only the first five minutes of the third quarter. That is probably our only regret, we didn’t come out of the locker room 100 per cent.”

With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the team’s play coming out of the break will strongly influence the direction of the organization moving forward.

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