It again started in the third quarter as the Boston Celtics allowed the Toronto Raptors to find some momentum before ultimately making a flurry of plays down the stretch as the Raptors earned a double-overtime 125-122 Game 6 win.
The Celtics entered Wednesday with a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. With the series tied 3-3, Boston now will have to win Game 7 on Friday or be sent home and watch Toronto advance to the conference final against the Miami Heat.
Toronto’s Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 33 points, hitting six of the team’s 19 3-pointers in the contest. Norman Powell made clutch plays down the stretch before finishing with 23 points.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 31 points, including 21 in first half.
Marcus Smart recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Jayson Tatum just missed out on a triple-double as he finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Perhaps the story of the night was Kemba Walker finishing with merely five points on 2-for-11 from the field.
Toronto shot 43.6 percent from the field (44-for-101) while the Celtics shot 44 percent (44-for-100).
Here’s how it went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart:
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
DIGGIN’ THE LONG BALL
The Celtics went with the ‘live and die by the three’ mindset during the first quarter. Marcus Smart, specifically, made three of his first four from beyond the arc, and did miss a few other that were good looks.
Brown made two of his three attempts from 3-point range as Boston finished the quarter shooting 35.7 percent (5-for-14) from three. Jayson Tatum struggled from the field, though, shooting just 1-for-7.
The Celtics shot 30.8 percent from the field as a team while they did put together another strong first quarter defensively while allowing just 21 points on 30.4 percent from the floor.
EXTENDING THE LEAD
With Brown scoring six of the Celtics first eight points of the second quarter, the Celtics built a double-digit lead within the first four minutes after a Brad Wanamaker made 3-pointer.
Wanamaker scored five points of his own in the quarter. And while Brown was an impressive 7-for-12 with 17 points in his first 14 minutes of action, he quieted down a bit later on in the half. He did, however, finish the first half with a game-high 19 points.
Boston, though, still built as much as a 12-point lead midway through the quarter before Toronto used an 8-2 run to cut the Celtics’ halftime lead to 52-48. Boston shot 39.1 percent from the floor in the half (18-for-46) while Toronto shot 38.3 percent (18-for-47).
ANOTHER TOUGH THIRD
Boston’s third-quarter troubles continued Wednesday as the Raptors outscored the Celtics 22-12 during the first six minutes, including a 12-2 run. The stretch helped Toronto take a 70-64 lead before finishing the 12 minutes with 32 points scored.
Grant Williams made a few crucial 3-pointers on the offensive end, and while Tatum found his groove offensively (nine points in the quarter), Walker stayed mostly silent (three points in three quarters). Brown went without a basket in the quarter.
The Celtics trailed 81-77 heading into the final frame.
THINGS REMAIN TIED
The Celtics regained the lead in the first four minutes of the quarter after hitting four consecutive 3-pointers.
Brown made each of the first two, Smart made his fifth of the game while Tatum’s gave Boston a 89-88 lead. Lowry hit a pair of 3-pointers himself to give the Raptors a 94-89 lead midway through the final quarter.
Smart finished on a traditional three-point play soon after to cut the Celtics deficit to two points. Theis scored a pair of baskets in the paint to tie the game at 98-all with two minutes left.
Tatum turnover led to Raptors ball with 40-plus second remaining. Both teams traded miss buckets, and Toronto had another chance at the buzzer but Pascal Siakam couldn’t come away with the heroics.
Brown finished on a strong take to the rim to give Boston a one-point lead but Lowry again answered. Theis finished on an assist from Walker to regain the Celtics one-point lead.
Walker hit his second field goal of the night to give Boston a 104-101 lead with 2:26 left, but Powell tied the game on the next Toronto possession.
Powell finished on a pair of free throws to give Toronto a two-point lead. Brown finished on a pair of clutch free throws to tie the game in the final 20 seconds and the Raptors weren’t able to score a game-winner on the final possession of the extra period.
TORONTO TIES SERIES
The Celtics scored the first four points — Tatum dunk in transition, Theis alley-top — of the second OT after a pair of Toronto turnovers.
Powell made a pair of free throws to tie the game with 2:33 left. Smart hit Theis on his second alley-oop of the quarter before Siakam made a jumper to tie the game.
Smart hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game on beautiful ball movement, but Powell again tied the game at 115-all.
Theis, again, finished on an alley-oop on an assist from Walker. OG Anunoby, though, connected on a 3-pointer before a Powell steal led to three-point play in transition. It was a seven-point swing for the Raptors in a matter of 59 seconds, and proved enough to get the win.
The Celtics now await a win-or-go-home Game 7 on Friday against the Raptors. Tip off is set for 9 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images