Beantown letdown for Raps

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

BOSTON -- Like a pesky mosquito, the Raptors just wouldn't buzz off.

But the counter-punches weren't quite strong enough and the defence wasn't nearly good enough to make it interesting down the stretch.

Trying to win for the fifth time in the past six games, the Raptors never made a serious bid for the lead in the fourth quarter and lost 110-96 against the Boston Celtics last night at TD Banknorth Garden.

"We hung around, but every time we needed that one stop, they make a shot, a three or get to the free throw line," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

"You can't let a team shoot (54.7)% and get to the free-throw line 40 times (to the Raptors' 24) and outrebound you (36-33) and expect to win. It's just not going to happen."

Apart from the usual strong contributions from Chris Bosh and Mike James, the Raptors didn't have much going for them. Coming off a 114-109 win over the New York Knicks a night earlier, the Raptors lacked defensive intensity and couldn't forge a consistent offensive identity.

Peterson was down on himself after the game for being on the wrong end of a lopsided matchup with Celtics star Paul Pierce, who outscored the Raptors swingman 32-10. Peterson was a brutal 4-of-17 from the field.

While Mitchell was not happy with the team's help on Pierce, Peterson was hearing none of it.

"I'm not going to blame my teammates," Peterson said.

"I want to take the challenge and (last night) he got the best of me. I take the blame."

Bosh had 24 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists, just missing the first Raptors' triple double since Alvin Williams on March 23, 2001. James, a night after scoring 37 points, scored 31 points. But the supporting cast had a rough night. Charlie Villanueva, the other go-to guy, scored just six points.

"All teams need three guys," Mitchell said. "You have to have that third guy."

The Raptors kept creeping within striking distance in the second half, but the Celtics blasted off late in the fourth quarter and coasted to victory. The Celts also received strong efforts from Delonte West (21 points) and Wally Szczerbiak (19).

In a bright spot for the Raptors, Pape Sow had one of his better games in a Toronto uniform, tying a career high with nine points and adding four rebounds. But he remains a work in progress.

The Raptors play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.


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