Jayson Tatum finished with a new career-high in a playoff game (34 points) while Marcus Smart gave the Boston Celtics life in the fourth quarter by hitting five (!!) 3-pointers.
And in the end, point guard Kemba Walker bounced back from a brutal three quarters (six points on 2-for-14 from the field) to score 13 in the final frame as the Celtics earned a 102-99 win over the Toronto Raptors.
With the win, the Celtics take a 2-0 series lead over the defending NBA champions.
The Celtics had five in double figures as Smart scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth, Jaylen Brown scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and Walker finished with 19. Robert Williams added 11 points of his own, with 10 in the first quarter.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
TIMELORD’S EARLY TAKEOVER
Robert Williams lead all scorers with 10 points shooting 5-for-5 from the floor in the first quarter.
The Celtics center entered the game with Boston trailing Toronto by six points midway through the frame, and essentially helped them get back in the game before finishing the first tied 28-all.
The Celtics shot 50 percent from the field in the period (11-for-22) while converting 3-for-7 from behind the arc. The Raptors shot 48 percent from the field (12-for-25) including 40 percent (4-for-10) from 3-point range.
Brown scored eight points while Tatum added seven of his own during the quarter.
Brown (14 points) and Tatum (16 points) continued to stay hot from the field, but point guard Kemba Walker had a rough first half (0-for-8 from the field).
All told, the Celtics held a 50-48 advantage at the break, altering shooting 45 percent from the field (17-for-38) and 39 percent from three (7-for-18). Williams played the last four and a half minutes in the half, but went into the break with an identical 10 points.
The Celtics were greatly impacted by turnovers (10), especially during the opening six minutes or the quarter. They had turned the ball over 32 times in three halves of basketball vs. Toronto, per The Athletic’s Jay King.
They also didn’t exactly benefit from strong offensive contributions from all five starters.
TORONTO’S KEY STRETCH
The Raptors took over the third, and in turn led 78-70 heading into the final 12 minutes. Toronto built as much as a 12-point lead, 78-66, following an 11-0 run midway through the period.
Tatum scored 13 points in the quarter, including the final four of the period, to extend his total to 29 in the game.
MARCUS SMART DID WHAT?
Smart went unconscious, hitting five 3-pointers during the fourth quarter to help Boston overcome its eight-point deficit heading into the final 12 minutes.
Smart connected on three consecutive 3-pointers on three consecutive trips up the floor to cut it to 80-79 while his fourth of the quarter tied the game at 82-all.
From there, Tatum converted a 3-pointer of his own before the Celtics took an eight-point lead with just over four minutes remaining.
The Celtics had that lead disappear, though, as Toronto ultimately closed the gap to one point in the final minute. Walker answered with yet another step back jumper, giving Boston a three-point lead with 41 seconds left.
The Celtics forced a Toronto turnover with 31 ticks on the clock before closing it out.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Smart went off, but Walker sealed the deal.
With a 2-0 advantage on the series, Game 3 between Boston and Toronto will be Thursday, September 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images