Return of Gary Trent Jr. arrives at the right time for a Raptors team in need of a boost

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Almost by necessity, the Raptors will have to go with another starting unit Friday night when the Boston Celtics provide the opposition.

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At least Gary Trent Jr. (foot) participated in practice Thursday, a day after Toronto’s starting lineup was quite putrid as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks forged a double-digit lead after the opening first quarter en route to a rather decisive win.

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Oddly enough, the home side did get off to a decent start in leading 8-2 before the wheels began to come off, a combination of shoddy shooting and deficient defence leading to Toronto’s demise.

Trent Jr. can shoot and he can be disruptive on defence — and rookie head coach Darko Rajakovic is expecting the swingman to be available for the Boston tip.

Trent Jr. most recently played in Dallas when the Raptors were well deserving of their win over the Mavs as Toronto won its second consecutive road game as part of a four-game trip.

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Toronto’s swing ended in Boston, a night when Trent Jr. was unavailable.

During the team’s current stay at home, Rajakovic started veteran Otto Porter Jr. against his former team Washington on Monday night, while rookie Gradey Dick got the nod against the Bucks.

Dick went 2-for-10 shooting, including 1-for-6 from distance in his first start. He went to the line six times and buried all six of his free throws, but he also picked up four fouls and did not record a single rebound.

Teams always give themselves the best chance of winning when games begin with energy and force. The Raptors have shown very little of each during this home stretch and clearly had neither in Boston.

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Against a woeful Wizards team, poor starts can easily be compensated for, but never tolerated.

Against a much more lethal Bucks team, falling behind is never a recipe for victory.

The Celtics are in the same high-rent district as the Bucks and basically toyed with the Raptors last week.

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