Raptors beat Celtics in 2OT classic, force Game 7

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The Toronto Raptors had a three-point lead and the ball with less than second remaining in double overtime, but Marcus Smart didn’t give up. The Celtics guard flopped to try drawing a foul. That desperate move rightfully got ignored (for now).

The battle wasn’t over.

As Smart hung around the court after time expired, Toronto guard Fred VanVleet jawed at Smart. Smart became increasingly animated, and Boston personnel restrained him as Raptors lined up across from him.

The battle isn’t over.

Toronto beat the Boston Celtics 125-122 in double overtime in Game 6 Wednesday to force Game 7 of the second-round series Friday.

How much will either team have left in the tank? In the first multi-overtime game this deep in a playoff series since Bulls-Celtics Game 6 in 2009 (triple overtime), nine players played at least 47 minutes.

But both teams also surged late in what had been a slow-paced defensive slugfest (besides both teams shooting better than 40% on 3-pointers). The 35 combined points in the second overtime – Toronto 19, Boston 16 – were the fourth-most in a postseason overtime period in the shot-clock era.

Norman Powell particularly stepped up, scoring 15 of his 23 points in overtime.

As has been the case throughout the series, the Raptors were at there best when Kyle Lowry (33 points, eight rebounds and six assists) was assertive. As also has been the case: Pascal Siakam (12 points on 5-of-19 shooting) has struggled as a scorer.

Toronto made life difficult on Kemba Walker (five points on 2-of-11 shooting) and Jayson Tatum, though Tatum (29 points on 9-of-21 shooting with 14 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks) found plenty of ways to contribute.

Smart (23 points on 6-of-11 3-point shooting, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) played brilliantly. Jaylen Brown (31 points on 30 shots with 14 rebounds) willingly took a go-to role while his teammates were targeted.

Yet, the Raptors made just enough plays to extend their title defense five more minutes then five more minutes and now one more game.