SPORTS

Raptors look to extend early success in Boston

11/05/2014 03:58 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST
Coming off one of their ugliest ever wins at home, 100-88 against the undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder, the Toronto Raptors likely won't be taking anything for granted as they meet the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden in Boston, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Raptors (3-1) could equal their best start since the 2004-05 season with a win while the Celtics (1-2) return home after a pair of road losses.

It seemed as if the Raptors could simply roll over the Thunder who were missing stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and brought only eight players to the game at the Air Canada Centre. but it took until the third quarter before the poor-shooting Raptors could maintain a lead. The Thunder, playing on back-to-back nights, simply ran out of steam from that point forward.

The Raptors are shooting only 41.7 percent to rank 25th in the NBA, but are scoring 104.8 points per game, seventh best in the league.

It's been a combination of slow starts, that wonky shooting and letting other teams take control that's been the problem, although eventually they've come around well enough to grab those three wins in four starts.

"We haven't been playing up to par," said Kyle Lowry, who's averaging 18 points a game, second only to DeMar DeRozan's 23.7 average. "I know I need to play a lot better. It's just one of those things that we need to fix internally."

The Raptors likely won't have their big man in the middle, centre Jonas Valanciunas who scored 15 points and added 14 rebounds before leaving Tuesday's game with a facial contusion. Earlier Valanciunas was forced to get X-rays on his right hand but he seemed to shake that off before bowing out with the blow to the face.

After years of frustrations against the Celtics the Raptors have managed to win four of their past five meetings, but it's never easy to play in Boston.

Boston's Rajon Rondo is averaging a league-leading 11.7 assists per game but shot poorly on the road trip, hitting on only 5-of-20 shots in the two losses.

Jared Sullinger is one Celtic with recent success against the Raptors. He's averaging 20.7 per game over the last three starts, just about double his career average of 10.6 points per game.

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