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Tatum powers Celtics past Raptors 105-96

TORONTO – Lost in the midst of a four-game skid, RJ Barrett says that the Toronto Raptors just have to stick to the plan.

Jayson Tatum had a double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six assists to power the Boston Celtics past the Raptors 105-96 on Monday. Barrett, from Mississauga, Ont., scored 24 points and pulled down nine boards as Toronto dropped its fourth consecutive decision and seventh in its past 10 games.

“We’re fighting, for sure,” said Barrett. “We’re fighting, we’re playing hard. We’re doing the things we’re supposed to do day-by-day.”

Barrett and Immanuel Quickley were traded to the Raptors on Dec. 30 from the New York Knicks. Toronto had to recalibrate its schemes after their arrival and then had to adjust again when starting centre Jakob Poeltl went down with a sprained left ankle on Jan. 7 in a 133-118 win in Golden State.

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The NBA-best Celtics (31-9) shot 41 per cent from beyond the arc, while the Raptors struggled to a season-worst 12.5 per cent three-point performance.

Barrett preached patience after the loss.

“We stuck to the game plan,” he said. “They’re a very good team. They’re going to make some shots.

“I think we played hard, played together, there were some tough stretches for us, end of the third, beginning of the fourth, but we were able to fight, rally and come back.”

Quickley had 21 points and six rebounds as the Raptors (15-25) returned home from a six-game road trip. He went 2-for-7 on three-point attempts, providing half of Toronto’s threes.

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“We don’t really want a pat on our backs for hanging around,” said Quickley on the relatively close game. “I think we’ve got to try to continue to make strides each and every day to make that next step to get these wins.

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“We’ve been hanging around with every team and that’s not what we want to be known for. We want to be known for winning.”

Pascal Siakam scored 17, but missed all six of his three-point attempts. It was Siakam’s 510th game for Toronto, surpassing Chris Bosh for fifth most in team history.

Derrick White went 5-for-11 from three-point range in a 22-point performance for Boston (31-9). Jrue Holiday had 22 points and seven assists.

Barrett made a layup and Scottie Barnes followed it with a jumper to cut Boston’s lead to 29-25 at the end of the first quarter. Barrett and Holiday led all scorers with 10 points apiece at the end of one.

A 9-0 run that stretched from the first quarter into the second gave Toronto its first lead of the game. After the two teams exchanged leads, White drilled back-to-back three-pointers with more than eight minutes left in the half to restore Boston’s lead.

Quickley drained a three-pointer with 26 seconds left in the half as the Celtics held a 61-55 lead going into intermission.

Barnes spun past Tatum in the paint to lay it in for a 73-66 lead, capping a 13-2 run by the Raptors early in the third. Boston roared back with a pair of emphatic dunks from Tatum and two free throws from Kristaps Porzingis.

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Tatum put Boston on his shoulders in the final three minutes of the third, scoring four points and dishing out two assists as the Celtics went on an 11-0 run for an 84-75 lead to close out the quarter.

Barnes drove to the net on a breakaway and made a fadeaway jumper with 6:48 left to play as part of a 6-0 Raptors’ run that pulled them to within eight. That drew a huge cheer from the 19,278 at Scotiabank Arena and forced a Boston timeout.

The Raptors reeled Boston in with an 8-0 run finished off by another layup from Barnes with two minutes to play. That cut the Celtics’ lead to four, but White fired back with a three-pointer and then Barnes fouled Holiday, leading to two made free throws.

After Quickley missed a field goal, Boston simply ran down the clock.

BROWN OUT — Celtics small forward Jaylen Brown was held out of Boston’s lineup for the game. Head coach Joe Mazzulla said that Brown was out with a sore knee and got treatment earlier in the day. Brown is averaging 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

UP NEXT — Toronto hosts the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Boston welcomes the lowly San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2024.

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