Letdown in Beantown

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

BOSTON -- The Raptors lost twice last night at the TD Banknorth Garden, the game to the lowly Boston Celtics and, worse, starting forward Jorge Garbajosa with a serious leg injury.

Garbajosa went down hard with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter, in a fall reminiscent of former NFL great Joe Theismann, after he went up in an attempt to prevent Boston's Al Jefferson from scoring a fast-break layup. As he hit the court, Garbajosa's left leg twisted, and he immediately motioned for a trainer. The Spanish international lay on the court for a few minutes and then was taken off the floor on a stretcher, to a nice ovation by the Boston crowd. Jefferson scored on the play and Garbajosa was slapped with a foul, the ultimate insult. Garbajosa was taken to a local hospital with a suspected fractured leg and his status at this point is unclear, although he could be out for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

In the end, Toronto lost Garbajosa and the game, 95-87.

"I know we bumped (coming down)," Jefferson said of the play. "My leg hit his leg and I looked down and he was just twisted up. He was screaming and I could feel his pain.

"I really thought he broke his leg," a contrite Jefferson said. "When it happened, the first thing that came into my head was 'why did he jump? Just let me go.' They need him for the playoffs, but he's a hard-working player and he's going to try and challenge every shot. I respect him for that."

Last night's loss came after two very impressive wins over the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic last week. Those victories followed perhaps their worst outing of the year, a 92-74 defeat to the lowly New York Knicks on March 16.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for the 38-32 Raptors, who are attempting to secure a playoff spot for the first time since the 2001-02 season and still are in the driver's seat to do so.

But last night they did not shoot or share the ball well, struggled on the boards and did not run against the 21-49 Celtics.

"We played bad. We had 19 turnovers," said head coach Sam Mitchell, who was particularly irked at his bench, which contributed 15 points. "If you come off the bench and you're dragging, you're not going to play. Get some loose balls, get some rebounds, run the floor. If you have to ease your way into that, then ease your way back over to the bench."

Garbajosa scored a career-best 22 points on Friday in Toronto's 121-94 win over Denver, but managed only five last night in 39 minutes before the injury. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Boston small forward Paul Pierce scored 23, including 16 in the first half, with eight assists and five rebounds.

Chris Bosh finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 33rd double-double of the season, a personal high, and 110th career double-double, tying him with Antonio Davis for the most in franchise history. Point guard T.J. Ford, who was huge in the fourth quarter with 19 points, had 28 overall and nine assists for Toronto, as well has eight turnovers, while Jefferson picked up 22 points and nine rebounds.

The game marked the return of starting shooting guard Anthony Parker, who has been out with a sprained right ankle. Parker had 16 points.

REPORT CARD

C + Offence: The normally quick Raptors did not run the floor well, scoring only six fast-break points and shot 40% from the floor and recorded only 16 assists to Boston's 23.

D - Defence: The Raptors were out-rebounded 44-35, but kept Boston to only 43% from the floor.


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