Celtics beaten by Raptors in opener
TORONTO -- Brad Stevens saw plenty of positives in his first game as head coach of the Boston Celtics.
Rebounding wasn't one of them.
Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan each scored 13 points and the Toronto Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak in home openers by beating the Celtics 93-87 on Wednesday night.
The Raptors outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, including a whopping 19-7 margin on the offensive glass.
The way Stevens saw it, that was "the key to the game" in his NBA head coaching debut.
"When they broke us down, they crushed us on the glass," Stevens said. "They shot 20 more field goals than us. It's going to be hard to win a game when that happens."
Jonas Valanciunas had eight points and 11 rebounds and Tyler Hansbrough had 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who won for just the sixth time in 26 meetings with Boston.
Kyle Lowry had 11 points and eight assists as Toronto improved to 10-9 in season-opening games.
Jeff Green had 25 points, Brandon Bass had 17 and Vitor Faverani 13 for the Celtics. Kris Humphries had eight points and nine rebounds.
Bass blamed poor positioning for the big disparity in offensive rebounds.
"We tried to help and got ourselves out of position," Bass said. "Their bigs were naked under the basket for the most part."
While it didn't work out the way he'd hoped, Stevens tried to stay positive.
"At the end of the day we didn't do everything perfectly," he said. "I didn't coach a perfect game, but I think we can all rest assured we've got a team that will fight and we've got a team that will compete. And we can shore up a couple of those mistakes, maybe we can come out the other end of it."
Bass echoed his coach's assessment.
"Being a new team, it's a game we can build on," he said. "There's some things we can definitely get better at and some things we can build on."
Humphries, however, found it harder to see the silver lining.
"It's the kind of [opposing] team and kind of game we've got to figure out a way to win," he said. "I know it's the first game of the year, but I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping we'd get this."
Stevens, who joined the Celtics after two Final Four appearances at Butler University, said he felt good about his first regular-season game as an NBA coach.
"No question it feels different, but it feels night and day better than it did the first exhibition game," the 37-year-old Stevens said. "I felt pretty good out there all night, at least felt like I knew what was coming and going."
That wasn't the only encouraging sign for the Celtics, who fell behind by 16 points in the third but rallied to tie it at 71-all heading into the fourth.
After Boston guard Jordan Crawford tied it at 78-all on a jump shot with 7:42 left, the Celtics didn't score again until Green's jumper with 4:08 remaining.
Johnson answered with a layup, Gay hit a turnaround jumper and DeRozan banked in a jump shot as Toronto opened a 10-point cushion, 90-80, with 2:34 left.
"We played pretty good throughout the game, but we played better in the fourth," Gay said. "We could have played better but a win is a win."
Faverani scored nine points in the first and the Celtics made 11 of 17 field goal attempts to lead 26-21 after one quarter.
Boston went cold to start the second, missing eight of their first nine attempts and allowing Toronto to take the lead with an 8-1 run.
The Celtics made just two of 14 shots in the second, while the Raptors got six points from Terrence Ross and four each from Gay and Johnson to lead 49-37 at the half.
Toronto extended its lead to 16 points at 60-44 on a Valanciunas dunk at 8:18 of the third, but the Celtics rallied behind nine points from Green and 10 from Bass, whose buzzer-beating dunk knotted the score at 71-all.
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