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Celtics vs. Raptors: Boston Looking To Bounce Back And Collect Their Tenth Win Over The Struggling Raptors

(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics will try and bounce back from their first home loss of the season on Sunday when they open a brief two-game road trip north of the border, aiming for their ninth consecutive win over the Toronto Raptors.

The Celtics, who will also visit Atlanta on their short trek, fell to a Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City club in Beantown on Friday. Russell Westbrook shook off the absence of Durant, who was out with an ankle injury, and scored 31 points with six assists in that one, as the Thunder blemished Boston's previously perfect 5-0 home record with an 89-84 triumph.

Rajon Rondo totaled 14 points and a season-low seven assists for the Celtics, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Rondo had dished out 10 or more assists in nine straight games and hadn't recorded fewer than nine all season. He sustained a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and sat out the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game.

Kevin Garnett, despite taking an elbow to the head in the first quarter, had 16 points, while Paul Pierce contributed 14 in defeat.

"We just didn't come with the right mindset from the start," Pierce said. "I think we kind of eased into the game, and then once we got into it, we were trying to claw our way back in. That's what happens when you have a team who's desperate without two of their best players. You give the other guys confidence and you can get surprised any given day in the NBA."

Rondo will be a game-time decision this afternoon.

The Raptors, meanwhile, have been playing better recently and opened a three- game homestand in winning fashion on Friday when Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting, as Toronto beat the Houston Rockets, 106-96.

DeMar DeRozan added 15 points for the Raptors, who were coming off Wednesday's win over Philadelphia and recorded only their fourth victory of the season.

Linas Kleiza netted 17 points to lead a strong Toronto bench. Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon each scored 10 in a reserve role.

"That's basically what we need to do to win games, stops on the defensive end," Johnson said. "If we get stops we get into our offense."

Off the court, the Raptors made a significant deal late Saturday, sending starting point guard Jarrett Jack, backup guard Marcus Banks and reserve center David Andersen to New Orleans for former All-Star Peja Stojakovic and young guard Jerryd Bayless.

Stojakovic, who is making over $14 million in the final year of his contract this season, had fallen out of the Hornets' rotation, while Bayless averaged 4.5 points but shot under 35.0 percent as one of Chris Paul's backups. Calderon, who was splitting time with Jack, is expected to move into the starting lineup.

The Raptors will finish the homestand against the Sixers next Wednesday.

The Celtics' eight-game winning run against Toronto is Currently their longest against any opponent.

Read more at our team blogs at Celtics Blog or Raptors HQ