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DeRozan scores 21 as Raptors shock Celtics

Pawel Dwulit | AP
Pawel Dwulit | AP
Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors lays the ball up as Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and Brandon Bass look on during the second half of play in Toronto on Friday, Feb.10, 2012.
By Joe McLaughlin, BDN Staff

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, Jose Calderon had 17 points and 14 rebounds and the Toronto Raptors beat Boston 86-74 on Friday for their third win in the past 20 meetings with the Celtics.

Amir Johnson had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Aaron Gray matched a season-high with 11 rebounds as the Raptors avenged a 100-64 loss at Boston on Feb. 1, their worst defeat of the season. James Johnson scored 14 for Toronto.

The Raptors, who snapped a three-game losing streak, had lost five of six coming in and were treated with a rare standing ovation from the crowd of 19,207 in the final minute.

Kevin Garnett scored 17 points, Paul Pierce had 12 and Brandon Bass had 10 for the Celtics, who were without center Jermaine O’Neal because he had a sore left shoulder.

Ray Allen scored just six points and Rajon Rondo had only five. The pair combined to shoot 5-for-18.

The Celtics, who had won nine of 10 before Thursday’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, lost back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game skid from Jan. 6 to 16.

Trailing 63-51, to begin the fourth, the Celtics were unable to mount a serious comeback. Allen’s jumper cut it to 77-69 with 3:35 left, but Linas Kleiza answered with a 3-pointer. And after Garnett made one of two from the line to trim the deficit to 81-72 with two minutes left, Calderon hit a step-back 3 to push the lead back to 12.

Toronto started brightly, using a pair of running dunks by James Johnson and Calderon’s alley-oop pass to DeRozan to open an 18-7 lead with 4:30 left in the opening quarter. DeRozan had nine points in the first, Calderon and Johnson had eight each as Toronto led 26-14 after one.

Boston made six turnovers in the first, but also had coach Doc Rivers fuming after failing to inbound the ball on one possession, forcing a timeout. Rivers yelled angrily at his team in the huddle before stomping back to the bench to let the players sort themselves out.

The Celtics closed the gap in the second, when Toronto made just four of 15 field goal attempts, but still trailed 41-34 at the break. Allen and Rondo combined for just two points in the first half, missing seven of eight shots.

The Raptors pulled away again in the third with DeRozan feeding Amir Johnson for an alley-oop to make it 61-45 with 3:52 left, matching their biggest lead of the game. Boston trailed 63-51 heading into the fourth.

NOTES: DeRozan has scored 20 or more in three of his past four games. … The loss snapped Boston’s season-high three-game road winning streak. … Celtics G Avery Bradley (right shoulder) and F Sasha Pavlovic (left wrist) sat out for the second straight game. … Toronto G Jerryd Bayless was unavailable after leaving Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee with a sore left ankle.

Bulls 95, Bobcats 64

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — No Derrick Rose? No problem.

Joakim Noah had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Carlos Boozer scored 16 points and the Chicago Bulls throttled the Charlotte Bobcats 95-64 Friday night despite the absence of their leading scorer and reigning league MVP.

The Bulls (23-6) won their fifth straight overall and improved to 5-1 this season without Rose, who sat out because of a lower back strain.

Derrick Brown scored 10 points to lead the NBA-worst Bobcats, who shot 33 percent and lost their 13th straight game to fall to 3-23. Brown was the only Bobcats player to finish in double figures.

Corey Maggette returned to action after missing the last 19 games with a strained hamstring and had four points on 2-of-7 shooting in 14 minutes.

The Bulls led by 22 points at halftime before pouring it on in the third quarter, pounding the ball inside to Noah and Boozer, who seemingly scored at will against a Bobcats frontcourt lacking in size and experience. That’s been a persistent problem all season for the Bobcats since they allowed center Kwame Brown to leave via free agency.

Noah was dominant inside, hitting 7 of 9 shots as the Bulls’ lead hovered around 30 for most of the second half.

Rose injured his back earlier in the week and was limited in a 90-67 win over New Orleans on Wednesday. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose would be a game-time decision against the Bobcats and decided to hold him out after watching him in warm-ups.

Clearly the Bulls didn’t need him.

C.J. Watson started in Rose’s place and had seven points and five assists. All-Star selection Luol Deng scored 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter, including a pair of key 3-pointers, to set the tempo for the Bulls. John Lucas III added 11 points and Omer Asik had 12 rebounds.

Prior to the game, Bobcats coach Paul Silas called the Bulls the most talented team in the league and they certainly left no doubt about this one early on. The Bulls held the Bobcats to 31 percent shooting in the first quarter, and Charlotte never mounted a rally after falling behind 30-16.

The Bobcats even struggled from the free throw line with both Gana Diop and Bismack Biyombo shooting air balls from the stripe, drawing a mixture of chuckles and head-shaking disgust from the home crowd on NASCAR night.

NOTES: The road only gets tougher for the Bobcats, who’ll face the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers in their next two games at home. … Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was sitting courtside for Friday night’s game but did not return for the second half. … Chicago scored 27 points off 16 turnovers.

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