In a tight seventh game, the Celtics eliminated the Raptors, current NBA champions, and qualified for the East final, in which they will face the Miami Heat.
Led by the young Jayson Tatum (29 points and 12 rebounds, Boston ended up putting down the Toronto rebellion, which came to force Game 7 after a 2-0 adverse start. After another tight final (92-87), the boys from green ended up sentencing the tie.
"I take off my hat with these guys, they are the defending champions. It was very hard," acknowledged the star of the Celtics, Jayson Tatum, who confirmed the maturity of his game, with only 22 years, scoring in the decisive match those 29 points.
The Boston All Star forward is the youngest player since
to finish a seventh playoff game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
It is the third time Boston has qualified for the Eastern Final in the past four years.
The Raptors will no longer be able to defend the ring they reached last season, when
, now the Los Angeles Clippers star,
As in practically the entire series, the final seventh game was an even battle in which the Celtics had more success in the decisive actions.
With 58 seconds to go, Celtics guard
put a spectacular stopper on
, when he was about to put the tie at 89.
Later, Celtics rookie
missed two free throws, but Tatum stole the rebound from the Raptors defense, who ended up fouling.
"If you want to win at these levels you have to play hard and do whatever it takes," said Tatum, asked about that rebound.
The forward made one of two free throws and, in the last chance to get back into the game,
missed a very forced 3-pointer for the Raptors.
Raptors leader veteran point guard
Kyle Lowry was
unable to stay on track at key moments as he watched his personal sixth with 34 seconds remaining.
The Celtics will now compete for a spot in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, who eliminated the
of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the best team in the regular season.
The Nuggets chase the miracle
In the Western semi-finals, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers with a spectacular comeback (111-105) and reduced the deficit to 3-2.
The stellar Nikola Jokic (22 points and 14 rebounds) and Jamal Murray (26 points and five triples), and a decisive Paul Millsap (17), led the victory of the Nuggets, who were on the brink of elimination for almost the entire game .
Denver can continue to dream of coming back from 3-1 against the Clippers, an achievement they achieved in the first round against the Utah Jazz but that no team in NBA history has been able to repeat in the same playoffs.
"We play better when we're against the wall," said Murray, the series hero against the Jazz.
For their part, the Clippers of
(36 points) and
(26) will have a new opportunity on Sunday to finish the series and advance to the first Western Conference finals in its 49-year history.
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