Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and Norman Powell added 23 off the bench yesterday as defending champion Toronto bagged a series-levelling 125-122 double overtime victory over Boston in the NBA playoffs.
An emotional thriller that resembled the intensity of a heavyweight boxing matchup saw the Raptors sustain their repeat hopes and pull level 3-3 in the Eastern Conference semi-final with a winner-take-all game seven set tomorrow.
The winner advances to an Eastern Conference final showdown against Miami.
“Just winning,” an exhausted Lowry said after playing 53 minutes. “That was two hard teams playing hard. We had to win the game. Win or go home.
“Get it done. Don’t matter who has to do it. Ready for game seven.”
Powell made a steal and fast break layup plus a free throw to lift Toronto ahead 121-117 with 38 seconds remaining.
Jayson Tatum answered with an inside jumper but Lowry hit a fall-away jumper — Toronto’s sixth successful shot in a row — to put Toronto ahead 123-119.
Tatum sank a 3-pointer to pull Boston within a point with 6.2 seconds remaining but Powell sank two free throws and Marcus Smart missed a last-chance 3-pointer for Boston.
Jaylen Brown scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Boston while Tatum had 29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists and Smart managed only his second career triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
“It was a hard-played tough game. Could have gone either way,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
The Raptors won their first NBA crown last season but NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard left in the off-season for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fred VanVleet added 21 points for Toronto and German center Daniel Theis had 18 points for Boston.*AFP
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