It was more of a crawl than a sprint to the finish line, but the Celtics figured out a way to secure a 92-87 win over the Raptors in Friday night's Game 7 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
In the finale of a rugged series, both teams shot around 40 percent from the field and below 30 percent from 3-point range. With Boston and Toronto owning two of the best defenses in the NBA, nothing came easy.
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Star performances and clutch plays proved to be the difference. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum totaled 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and Marcus Smart showed why he is a member of the All-Defensive First Team when he rejected a Norman Powell layup attempt with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
The Raptors, meanwhile, struggled to find offense in the fourth quarter. Toronto scored only five points in the last three minutes of Game 7 and was limited to 16 points in the final frame. The defending champs deserve credit for lasting this long, but it is their turn to leave the NBA bubble.
Sporting News provided live updates from Game 7 of Celtics vs. Raptors. Check out all the highlights you missed right here.
Celtics vs. Raptors score
Celtics vs. Raptors updates, highlights from Game 7
(All times Eastern)
Final: Celtics 92, Raptors 87
11:50 p.m. — Pascal Siakam's desperation heave is way off target, and this series is over. The Celtics survive and advance. What an incredible showing from both teams.
11:50 p.m. — What a defensive stand by Grant Williams. The rookie forward played Fred VanVleet perfectly and forced him to take a contested 3-pointer. The Raptors foul to stop the clock, Kemba Walker hits the free throws and it's looking like Boston is heading to the Eastern Conference finals.
11:45 p.m. — Please watch this block. Multiple times. It's beautiful.
11:45 p.m. — And now Kyle Lowry has fouled out. Wow. Who will step up for Toronto? Celtics 89, Raptors 87 with 35.4 seconds on the clock.
11:40 p.m. — That's No. 6 on Daniel Theis. He has fouled out of the game. Kyle Lowry hits two free throws, and the Celtics' lead is down to two with only a minute remaining.
11:25 p.m. — Celtics 85, Raptors 78. Exactly six minutes left. Game 7. Winner advances. Loser goes home. Basketball is fun.
11:15 p.m. — Jaylen Brown slipped as he landed following a two-handed slam dunk. Didn't look good initially, but he is going to stay in the game.
Jaylen Brown landed awkwardly pic.twitter.com/YtMgb1P4pY— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 12, 2020
11:10 p.m. — Good news for the Celtics: A quick 7-0 run to start the final frame. Bad news for the Celtics: Daniel Theis just picked up his fifth foul.
End of third quarter: Celtics 72, Raptors 71
11:05 p.m. — Apparently Marcus Smart knows black magic because there's no other way to explain this shot.
Smart somehow gets it to go!— NBA (@NBA) September 12, 2020
WIN or GO HOME GAME 7 on TNT pic.twitter.com/WTgyN9gfbx
10:55 p.m. — There's that patented Pascal Siakam spin move.
10:45 p.m. — It's been a struggle for Kemba Walker, but Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are carrying the offensive load with 17 points each. Still, Boston needs Walker to contribute more in this half.
Halftime: Celtics 50, Raptors 46
10:25 p.m. — The Celtics rattle off a 17-6 run over the last six minutes of the second quarter and head into the locker room with a four-point lead. As expected, it's been a back-and-forth battle so far.
10:10 p.m. — Strong minutes from Serge Ibaka. He's already got 12 points and five rebounds.
10:05 p.m. — Just Kyle Lowry doing Kyle Lowry stuff.
10 p.m. — A rough start for Marcus Smart. The Celtics guard is 3-of-9 from the field, and he just tossed a floater over the top of the backboard. Brad Stevens is not happy.
End of first quarter: Raptors 27, Celtics 26
9:45 p.m. — Norman Powell with some ENERGY off the bench.
9:35 p.m. — The Celtics are launching 3-pointers. Boston has taken 13 shots from the field, and nine of those attempts have come from beyond the arc.
9:25 p.m. — And here we go. Kyle Lowry scores the first points of Game 7.
8:50 p.m. — Yes, Gordon Hayward is on the floor. No, he is not playing. Still listed as out on the injury report.
8:30 p.m. — The Celtics and Raptors can agree on at least one thing: The best two words in sports are "Game 7."
8:20 p.m. — Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker is excited! Loud noises!
Game 7!!!— Brad Wanamaker (@phillybul_22) September 11, 2020