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Raptors pull away to beat Celtics

Jan 11, 2015 - 5:58 AM Toronto, ON ( - James Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas each scored eight of their 15 points during the pivotal third quarter, and Toronto snapped its four-game skid by pulling away for a 109-96 victory over the Boston Celtics at Air Canada Centre.

Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams had 19 points apiece, and Johnson pulled down 10 rebounds. Amir Johnson scored 15, and Patrick Patterson totaled 10 points and nine boards for the Atlantic Division leaders, who beat the Celtics for the fourth straight time.

"I thought our defensive mojo was back," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We were doing the things we needed to do with activity and anticipation."

Kelly Olynyk, a Toronto native, had 23 points for Boston, which has dropped nine of its last 11 games.

"Canada basketball is huge up here," Olynyk said. "It's always nice to come up here and play well in front of your country."

James Johnson and Valanciunas combined to shoot 8-of-9 from the floor in the third quarter, when the Raptors turned a 2-point deficit early in the period into an 82-65 cushion going into the fourth.

Amir Johnson's layup to start the quarter expanded Toronto's lead to 49-43, but Boston surged in front and gained a 55-53 edge on Jared Sullinger's jumper with 8:47 left.

The Raptors responded with a 15-2 run with Valanciunas scoring six of those points.

Patterson's short jumper at the horn to end the period extended Toronto's lead to 17, and the hosts' lead never dipped under eight points in the fourth. Lowry scored 10 in the final stanza.

Avery Bradley had seven points in the first quarter to help the Celtics grab a 26-19 lead by the end of the period. The visitors used a 13-2 run during the quarter, which was capped by Bradley's layup for a 17-9 edge.

Brandon Bass' dunk extended Boston's lead to 40-31 with 5:35 remaining in the half, but the Raptors scored the ensuing 12 points. Greivis Vasquez started the burst with a 3-pointer and James Johnson finished it by sinking 1-of-2 free throws with 1:28 left.

Williams' slam with 17.7 seconds left brought the Raptors' lead to 47-43 at the break.

Game Notes

The Raptors are 6-0 against the Atlantic Division this season ... Toronto hasn't lost five in a row since Nov. 26 - Dec. 6, 2013 ... Raptors forward Terrence Ross went 2-of-4 from 3-point range, part of Toronto's 13-of-30 effort. He has made at least one 3-pointer in a career-best 13 consecutive games ... The Raptors still have the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans left on this six-game homestand ... Bradley had 17 points ... Celtics forward Jeff Green didn't play amid rumors that he was being traded to Memphis.