Kyle Lowry

Raptors view Celtics as threat in Atlantic Division

November 06, 2014 - 4:40 am
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The Raptors flipped a 34-48 record and a last-place finish in the Atlantic Division in 2012-13 to a 48-34 ledger and a division crown in the third year of the Dwane Casey coaching era last year. With headstrong 28-year-old point guard Kyle Lowry and burgeoning young shooting guard DeMar DeRozan in the fold, they cemented themselves as the Atlantic favorites for years to come. The Celtics are hoping to replicate Toronto's turnaround behind their own headstrong 28-year-old point guard Rajon Rondo and burgeoning young shooting guard Avery Bradley in the second year of coach Brad Stevens' tenure. The Raptors are recognizing their effort. "They'€™re definitely very talented," DeRozan said after scoring 23 points on 25 shots in a 110-107 win in Boston. "They'€™ve got a great coach. They'€™ve got a hell of a point guard in Rondo. They'€™re still learning and still growing. You'€™ve got a talented kid in [Marcus] Smart, so they definitely have a chance and we definitely have to look for them, especially in our division." Including the preseason, the Celtics and Raptors have faced each other three times, twice battling to the final possession. The C's outplayed Toronto in almost every facet of Wednesday's game -- shooting 51.3 percent from the field, grabbing 31 more rebounds and leading by as many as 16 points -- but committed 28 turnovers, most of which were unforced. When asked if he viewed the Celtics as a threat in the Atlantic Division, Lowry didn't hesitate. "Yeah," he said, even after dropping 35 points on 17 shots on their backcourt. "The way they play, they play so hard, man. You just have to tip your hat to how they play. They'€™re well coached, and they have some talented young pieces. They'€™ve got an NBA champion over there, so they'€™ve got some pieces and players who know how to get the job done."

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