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Raptors best Celtics in ugly home opener

The Toronto Raptors opened their season in positive fashion with a 93-87 win over the Boston Celtics.

Dave Sandford

For the second consecutive year, the Toronto Raptors opened their season with tightly contested - dare I say thriller - game. This time, the Raptors came out on top, besting the Boston Celtics 93-87.

It was not pretty though, both teams combined for 39 turnovers and both shot below 50 per cent from the floor.

Despite a strong start, Toronto faltered in the third, surrendering a whopping 34 points to the offensively challenged Celtics.

"We played pretty good throughout the game but we played better in the 4th," Rudy Gay said after his 19-point performance. "I think we could have played alot better but a win is a win."

Specifically, both DeMar DeRozan and Gay saved their best for last, scoring a combined 11 of their 32 in the fourth quarter. Amir Johnson also came up big down the stretch, getting a couple of key baskets including a three-pointer -- one of three he attempted on the night.

"I think we did pretty good," Gay added. "We were a little rusty when we came out and shook the rust off and came back and closed the game. It's all about the W."

Johnson finished with 13 points and three rebounds.

The Raptors never really looked fluid offensively. The ball tended to stick when it got to either DeRozan or Gay and far too many isolation plays took place. This is something that head coach Dwayne Casey hopes to rectify as the season progresses.

On a more positive note, the Raptors got some strong production from their bench.

Landry Fields was effective, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds while presenting himself as a threat offensively all night long. Terrence Ross added six points and point guard D.J Augustin had perhaps his best game as a Raptor, pitching in five points and two assists, running the second unit effectively.

The real game changer off the pine, however was Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough brought his trademark tenacity during every second of his 24-minute performance. He corralled a game-high 12 rebounds and at times, kept the team in the game with his effort on the offensive boards.

Hansbrough has been talked about as being perhaps the toughest player the Raptors have had since Charles Oakley and so far he is fitting the bill. It's also worth mentioning that the fans are already in love with him -- he received one of the biggest ovations of anyone on the team during the pregame introductions.

It wasn't a resounding victory, but Toronto will take the win. They will head to Atlanta to take on the Hawks in game number two on Friday night.

Canadian Content

Canadian Kelly Olynyk made his debut with the Celtics to lukewarm results. He had four points and two rebounds in just over 16 minutes.

Battle in the Paint

One of the more entertaining matchups in the game featured Raptor centre Jonas Valanciunas banging in the paint against Celtics rookie Vitor Faverani. The two big men went at it on every possession that they were matched up with one another. Faverani started strong, but finished with 13 points and two rebounds. Valanciunas was also solid, holding his own with eight points and 11 rebounds and two blocks.