DeRozan scores 16 points as Raptors beat Celtics 96-78
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 05, 2018 10:38 AM
FILE - TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 15: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors is seen during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 15, 2017 during Game One of Round One of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Ian Harrison, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka each had 15 and the Toronto Raptors moved closer to clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the Boston Celtics 96-78 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Toronto increased its lead over second-place Boston to three games. Both teams have four games remaining.
Kyle Lowry scored 13 points for the Raptors, who earned a split in the season series with the Celtics and clinched the tie-breaker over Boston, based on each team's record in conference play. Toronto is 37-11 against the East, while Boston is 31-17.
With its 56th win of the season, Toronto matched the franchise record set in 2015-16.
Delon Wright had eight points, eight assists and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who entered having lost five of their previous eight, including the past two. Toronto lost at Boston on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and again at Cleveland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).
Marcus Morris scored 21 points, Greg Monroe had 17 and Al Horford 16 for Boston, who were held to their lowest point total of the season. The Celtics scored 80 in a Jan. 18 (Jan. 19, PHL time) loss to Philadelphia.
The Celtics shot 3-for-22 from three-point range, their fewest made three-pointers of the season. Boston's previous low was six, set twice.
The Celtics lost Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in Milwaukee and have dropped consecutive games after winning six in a row.
Terry Rozier started for Boston after sitting out Tuesday (Wednesday, PHl time) because of a sprained left ankle. He scored two points in 28 minutes and shot 1-of-9.
Jaylen Brown and Monroe each scored five points in the first as Boston led 20-14 after one. Toronto made 6-of-23 attempts in the opening quarter, going 2-of-11 from three-point range, and didn't score over the final 3:29 in its lowest-scoring first quarter of the season.
Boston made nine turnovers in the second, leading to 17 points for Toronto, as the Raptors rallied behind six points from Wright to lead 43-33 at halftime. The Celtics had more turnovers in the first half (14) than made baskets (13).
After making eight of 19 field goal attempts in the first quarter, Boston shot 5-for-18 in the second and 5-for-19 in the third. DeRozan scored eight points in the third as Toronto took a 67-53 lead into the fourth.
Celtics: Rozier led Boston with nine rebounds. ... G Shane Larkin (illness) did not travel to Toronto. Larkin has missed three straight games. ... Boston finished with 17 turnovers, three shy of its season-worst. Toronto scored 29 points off turnovers.
Raptors: Toronto avoided its first three-game losing streak since Feb. 8-14, 2017. ... The Raptors outscored the Celtics 54-34 on points in the paint. ... The home team won all four meetings in the series this season.
Celtics: Host Chicago on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Boston has won five straight home games against the Bulls.
Raptors: Host Indiana on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Toronto has won eight straight home games against the Pacers.