Boston Celtics go ice cold in loss to Toronto Raptors, likely clinch No. 2 seed

After three quarters on Wednesday, the Boston Celtics had 53 points.

The Celtics’ final total looked slightly less egregious, but only very slightly. Boston dropped its second straight game, falling to the Toronto Raptors 96-78 in a nationally televised matchup that looked as painful on the court as it did in the box score. The Celtics shot a paltry 25-for-75 (33.3 percent) from the floor as a team and a 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) behind the arc — stymied by Toronto’s defense, polar vortex shooting, sloppy turnovers and exhaustion.

Of course, the Raptors were exhausted too.

Generously, the first half was a defensive battle. Less generously, it was perhaps the ugliest 24 minutes of the season so far. The Celtics limited Toronto’s starters to just 14 points in the first period, taking a six-point lead thanks to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but Toronto answered by shutting down the Celtics in the second. Boston shot 27.8 percent from the floor in the second period, turning it over nine times. The Celtics ended the first half with 14 total turnovers — 14 reminders that they were indeed without Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Shane Larkin. Having Rozier back made a difference, but he couldn’t find

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