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Allen leads Celtics to fifth straight win

Nov 23, 2008 - 10:10 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Ray Allen helped the Boston Celtics get out to a quick start as they rolled to their fifth straight victory.

Allen scored 21 points as the Celtics led from start to finish in a 118-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

Allen finished 8-of-12 from the floor and hit 5-of-7 of his 3-point attempts, including a pair early in the contest as the Celtics raced to a 22-6 lead in the first eight minutes.

"For four quarters, we were solid on both ends of the floor and we set the tone early in the first quarter," Allen said. "(Rajon) Rondo created a great tempo for us. He got some early looks in there and they were trying to guess where it was coming from all half."

The Celtics led 32-20 after the first quarter and maintained the double-digit lead at the half, entering the break with a 59-49 edge. It was Boston's highest-scoring first half of the season.

"They jumped on us," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "You looked up and we were down 10 or 12 points. They are the world champions for a reason."

The Raptors missed their first five shots from the floor as they fell behind early and could never catch the red-hot Celtics, who shot over 60 percent from the floor.

"They shot a great percentage obviously you can't let anybody shoot 61 percent and expect to win," Raptors guard Anthony Parker said. "On one hand you give them credit because they executed well, but if you're playing decent defense it doesn't matter."

Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Tony Allen each finished with 15 points for the Celtics who have won 11 of 12 since a loss to Indiana on November 1.

Kendrick Perkins had 12 points and Paul Pierce and Eddie House each scored 11, helping the Celtics reach a season high scoring output. Their previous best was during a 110-101 victory over New York on November 18.

"I think the whole thing is set-up around Rondo, I really do," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "When he pushes the ball up the floor, every single possession, we score out of our sets and we score out of our routes, and that makes us really good offensively because now his speed is a factor."

Chris Bosh scored 24 points to lead Toronto, which has lost seven of its last 10 games following a 3-0 start.

"The past two games have been bad so we have to go back and break down the tape, and tighten it up," Mitchell said. "We are just making a lot of mental errors. We are rotating to guys and we left Ray Allen open a few times. We just had a bad game. "

Jose Calderon added 14 points and nine assists for the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker had 14 apiece for Toronto, which is now 2-4 at home.

Toronto forward Jermaine O'Neal left the game in the second quarter with a strain of his surgically-repaired left knee after scoring six points in 13 minutes.

"I tried to gauge it and see if I could help the team," O'Neal said. "But I didn't really have any stability, it was becoming too painful."

O'Neal had been listed as day-to-day after suffering the injury in Friday's overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets.

He sustained the injury Friday with 11:37 left in the game and did not return. Medical images taken of the knee after the game revealed no structural damage.

O'Neal is averaging 12.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in his first season with the Raptors. He has been beset by injuries in each of the last four campaigns, averaging 51.5 games played over that stretch.

O'Neal said he expects to be healthy for Wednesday's game against Charlotte.

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