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Celtics look to put recent skid behind them

Jan 11, 2009 - 2:31 PM Boston (29-9) at Toronto (16-21), 12:30 p.m. EST

TORONTO (Ticker) -- An uncharacteristic losing streak has suddenly become an identity crisis for the Boston Celtics.

Looking to snap a four-game losing streak and avoid falling for the eighth time in 10 contests, the reeling Celtics visit the Toronto Raptors in a battle of Atlantic Division foes on Sunday.

The Celtics got off to the best start in NBA history through 29 games, going 27-2 and enjoying a franchise-record 19-game winning streak. Since then, the defending champions have been caught in a downward spiral.

They faltered in a 98-83 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. It would have been an opportune time to snap out of a funk against their primary competition at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but Boston failed to reach 90 points for the sixth time in its last seven setbacks.

Its previous trip to the Air Canada Centre came on November 23, when Boston claimed a 118-103 victory during their historic run.

Toronto, meanwhile, won for the fourth time in five contests with Friday's 103-82 drubbing of the Memphis Grizzlies. It also stretched its season-high winning streak at home to three games.

The Raptors, who will visit the Celtics on Monday for the second part of a home-and-home series, have dropped six of the last seven matchups with the Celtics, including three in a row in Toronto.