Boston Celtics

Al Horford and the short-handed Boston Celtics lost their second straight game on Wednesday night in a, 96-78, loss to the Toronto Raptors in the second of back-to-back road games.

Terry Rozier III (ankle) returned to the starting lineup after missing his first career game due to injury on Tuesday night. But the C’s were once again without guard Shane Larkin (illness).

The Celtics started the game 6-1 over their last seven. And it was the Bucks who just snapped their six-game winning streak on Tuesday night in the first of back-to-back road games.

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The Raptors came into the game losers of five of their last eight games.

Heading into the final of the season series, the Celtics were 2-1 against the Raptors, winning both at home.

The Raptors struggled from the field in the first, shooting 26.1 percent. And the Celtics took full advantage of it, finishing off the quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 20-14 lead.

It was tough for the Celtics to get things going offensively in the second, especially with a lack of a ball-handler and a sense of urgency.

The Raptors out-scored the C’s 29-12 to take a 43-33 lead into halftime.

Greg Monroe was sniffing a double-double off the bench at halftime. And he’d later finish the game with 17 points (9-9 FT), eight rebounds and three assists.

During the second half the Raptors led by as much 20 and ended up holding the C’s to a season-low 78 points, in a 96-78 win.

With one more Toronto win or Boston loss, the Raptors will clinch the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. And each team has four games remaining, with Toronto holding a three game lead in the East.

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The Celtics committed 16 turnovers in the game, with 13 of them coming in the first half. And it didn’t help that their shooters were ice cold, going 3-for-22 from deep and finishing 25-for-75 from the field.

But the C’s did make 25 of their 28 free throw attempts on the night.

Marcus Morris led all Celtics scorers shooting 50 percent from the field for 21 points to go with five rebounds.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 17 points on 42 percent shooting.

Rozier played 28 minutes in his return and finished with two points (1-9 FG), nine rebounds and two assists.

DeMar DeRozan led all Raptors with 16 points (3-4 3PT), three rebounds and two assists. And Fred VanFleet had 15 off the bench on 50 percent shooting.

UP NEXT: The Celtics (53-25) welcome the Chicago Bulls (27-51) to the TD Garden on Friday for the first of two home games over the weekend. Catch the call of the game with Jon Wallach and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.

— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.