'Sheed helps Celts shed losing streak.


Byline: Bill Doyle

BOSTON - Rasheed Wallace may be downright crazy at times, but last night he was crazy good.

And he needed to be with the Celtics missing three of their top four scorers.

Starting in place of the injured Kevin Garnett, Wallace scored 16 points, including an emphatic dunk in the closing minutes to help the Celtics hold off the Toronto Raptors, 103-96, at the Garden.

Wallace spun around Andrea Bargnani and jammed to stretch Boston's lead to 92-83 with 3:11 to go. Ray Allen followed with a 3-pointer and the Celtics went on to snap their season-high three-game losing streak. This victory with a shorthanded lineup took some of the sting out of losing three on the road last week and gave the Celtics some momentum before beginning a three-game road trip on Wednesday in Miami.

"Ain't nothing to do with hitting the road again," Wallace said. "It's just a good `W' for us, period. We took the last three games, our opponents, we didn't take them serious and they showed us how this league is. Anybody can win on any given night. They went out there and kicked our butts the last three games so we just have to return the favor every once in a while and go out here and play hard."

Even with Garnett (hyperextended right knee), Paul Pierce (right knee infection), Rajon Rondo (sore left hamstring) and Marquis Daniels (torn left thumb ligaments) sidelined, Celtics coach Doc Rivers still held out hope that they could beat the Raptors if they played good defense. They defended reasonably well, but they also scored more easily than Rivers expected. Allen led six Celtics in double-digit scoring with 23 points. Glen Davis, returning after missing the previous game with a sprained ankle, scored a season-high 15 points off the bench. Wallace had 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to go with his 16 points. His spin move made Rivers change his mind about challenging him to a race.

"My target is Baby (Glen Davis) now," Rivers said. "He (Wallace) is quicker than you think and he showed it on that."

"When Rasheed wants to," Kendrick Perkins said, "he can be one of the best post players in the league, when he wants to be. When he comes to play and he's focused, he's great."

Tony Allen had 14 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds while starting at the point instead of Rondo.


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