Boston Celtics won Game 7 of their series against the Toronto Raptors, 92-87, eliminating the reigning NBA champions. It was a hard-fought win for Brad Stevens’ crew.
The Celtics are in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the last four years. They will face the Miami Heat following seven exhausting matches against the Toronto Raptors.
“If you want to achieve something great, if you want to win, it’s not going to be easy,” Jayson Tatum said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
After reaching a 2-0 lead, many believed that there wouldn’t be too many problems for the No.3 seed in the East. Yet, the champs refused to go down that easy. They clawed their way back, force Game 7, earning a chance to continue with their defense quest. In the end, the Raptors had to lay down their weapons.
The final minute decided this contest. Marcus Smart’s block was apparently the crucial moment of the match. He rejected Norman Powell’s layup, preventing a tie as his Celtics led 89-87. On the other end, Kyle Lowry fouled Grant Williams and had to go out. Boston’s big man missed both shots, but Jayson Tatum saved the day with an offensive rebound, forcing Powell to foul him too.
He missed one free-throw attempt, leaving a chance for the champs to reach overtime, yet a tough defense on Fred VanVleet didn’t allow that to happen. Toronto’s guard air-balled his shot, and Kemba Walker confirmed the win on the other side, with two hits from the line.
“An unbelievable battle, man,” Lowry said of the series. “Those guys, they beat us fair and square. They played extremely hard. They made it tough on us. We made it tough on them. We had opportunities to win it. They came out and did their job and they won, and they move on,” Kyle Lowry explained how he saw the series.
Raptors’ point guard had 16 points while shooting 5-for-15 from the field, with six rebounds and four assists. He was bad from downtown, 1-for-6. The biggest disappointment was Pascal Siakam, who couldn’t find his rhythm throughout the entire series.
The athletic forward contributed with just 13 points in this one, and 11 boards, but with 5-for-12 from the floor.
“I take a lot of the blame, man. I take a lot of the blame,” he said.
VanVleet had a team-high 20 buckets, and also six assists. Though, he too wasn’t very good with field-goal percentage, 8-for-20. Serge Ibaka dropped 14, and Powell 11.
As usual, Tatum was the best in the Celtics’ team, with 29 points, 12 boards, and 7 assists. He and Jayleen Brown are leading the offense, while on the defensive side of the ball, Marcus Smart takes the majority of the action.
Brown missed just one of his ten attempts for two points, but was bad from deep, 1-of-7. He would add eight boards and four steals. As for Smart, 16 points, six assists, and three steals, with a reminder about that block.
Kemba Walker was once again mediocre with 14 points, just one three in seven shots, and six boards. As time goes by, more and more fans are starting to doubt in this player, and are questioning his massive contract signed at the start of the season. According to a majority of impressions on social networks, it seems that keeping Terry Rozier would have been a better choice.
Still, if Boston takes the title, nobody would remember his bad performances. In order to do so, they will have to beat the Miami Heat in the East finals first. Erik Spoelstra’s side previously eliminated Milwaukee Bucks.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.