Raptors survive crazy, double-overtime Game 6 to force Game 7 vs. Celtics

The Toronto Raptors kept their season alive with an insane Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics in double-overtime.

Time and time again, the defending NBA champions found themselves up against the ropes in Game 6 against a hungry Boston Celtics squad. And every single time, the Toronto Raptors answered the bell with a counterpunch of their own, ultimately pulling away Wednesday night in a thrilling double-overtime win to keep their season alive.

In a game that saw eight players play 50-plus minutes, the Raptors were able to force a Game 7 in this Eastern Conference semifinals series thanks to 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists from Kyle Lowry, 21 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists from Fred VanVleet and 23 points off the bench for Norman Powell, with 15 of those points coming in the extra periods.

OG Anunoby added 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Pascal Siakam struggled on 5-of-19 shooting to finish with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown’s 31 points and 16 rebounds, a 23-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double from Marcus Smart and 29 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals from Jayson Tatum. Unfortunately for Boston, Tatum (9-of-21) and Kemba Walker (5 points on 2-of-11 shooting) both struggled with their shot for most of the night.

Toronto Raptors
Boston Celtics

What else did you miss in Game 6 between the Celtics and Raptors?

In the first half, Brown got off to a red-hot start, scoring 17 of the Celtics’ first 33 points. Thanks to Serge Ibaka’s boost off the bench, the Raptors ended the first half on an 8-2 run to pull within 4, trailing 52-48 at the break despite Walker (0 points on 0-of-3 shooting) and Tatum (8 points on 2-of-8 shooting) both struggling from the floor.

Unfortunately for Toronto, Siakam’s recent struggles continued, with Spicy P only tallying 3 points on 1-of-8 shooting through the first two quarters.

In the third, Toronto caught fire from deep to reclaim the lead. Despite shooting 7-for-22 from distance in the first half, the Raptors made six of their first seven triples to start the second half, propelling them to a 79-71 advantage that was their largest lead of the night.

That lead had dwindled to 4 by the end of the third quarter, and a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer briefly gave the Celtics the lead back early in the fourth, but Kyle Lowry responded with a 3 of his own — one of three triples he knocked down in the fourth quarter — to restore Toronto’s lead.

Back-to-back buckets from Daniel Theis knotted the score at 98 with two minutes to play, and neither team could break the tie over the next few minutes.

Walker drove the lane with 3.5 seconds left and was clearly fouled on the arm by Anunoby (and possibly VanVleet with the body as well), but no call was given. Anunoby secured the rebound and several Raptors immediately called timeout as Marcus Smart tied up the ball, but the officials granted the timeout to Toronto.

Anunoby was fouled on the ensuing alley-oop inbounds pass with 2.2 seconds left, but the Raptors were not in the bonus, leaving them with 0.9 seconds to get a game-winner up. Siakam missed the desperation 3, sending the game to OT.

Kemba’s second field goal of the night gave the Celtics a 104-101 lead in the extra period, but the Raptors immediately responded with a corner 3 from Powell to tie it back up again with two minutes to play. Powell’s free throws gave Toronto a two-point lead 30 seconds later.

With 19.6 seconds left and the Celtics still trailing by two, Brown was fouled going up for an alley-oop off the inbounds pass. He was able to tie the game at the foul line, giving the defending champs the ball and a chance to extend their season with 18.9 seconds remaining. Powell took a hero ball 3 at the buzzer, but it was off the mark, sending the game to double-overtime.

In the second extra period, as the two teams battled back and forth while fighting fatigue, a clutch corner 3 from Marcus Smart to put Boston up 3 was quickly answered by Powell’s triple. A Theis dunk put Boston ahead on the next play, but an Anunoby triple reclaimed the lead for Toronto. Powell’s strip on Tatum led to a Raptors fast break resulting in a 3-point play for Powell, putting Toronto up 4 with 38.8 seconds left.

Tatum hit a bucket, Lowry answered with a step-back jumper and Tatum hit a 3 to cut the lead back down to one with 6.2 seconds left. Powell made both free throws on the ensuing foul to push Toronto ahead by 3 with 5.0 seconds remaining, but the Celtics got one last look at a game-tying 3. Unfortunately, as beautiful as Tatum’s full-court inbounds pass to Smart was, the Celtics guard couldn’t hit the tough fadeaway triple to tie it up, giving the Raptors an incredible double-OT win to extend their season.

The decisive Game 7 will be on Friday to decide which team will meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.