Celtics send Raptors home in Game 7 Nail-Biter

Boston will meet Miami for the Eastern Conference Finals.


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Boston proceed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years after a 92-87 win over the Raptors

Tristan Baldeo, Staff Writer

The Boston Celtics make a big splash as they return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in the last four years.

This occurs as the Boston Celtics got the best of the Toronto Raptors in a Game 7 victory that finished with a score of 92-87, ending the series 4-3. The reigning champions fought till the very last moment, yet the end result had defeat written all over it as weaknesses were constantly on display from the Raptors throughout the series.

As the Celtics head into the Eastern Conference Finals, coach Brad Stevens spoke about his opponents in high regard.

“Miami is probably the closest team in the East that we’ve seen to the Warriors with regard to their cutting and shooting,” said Stevens to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

The Celtics trio of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown shined throughout the series, with Tatum leading the way averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. The trio averaged a combined total of 62 points per game, over half of the team’s total average of 105 points per game. If there is any moment for Tatum to cement himself as a superstar, it would be now.

What put the Celtics over the hump of the Raptors however was their elite defense, as they are currently ranked the best defensive team statistically in the NBA playoffs. Over the span of seven games, the Celtics were able to hold the Raptors under 100 points per game on average, profiting off of their mistakes throughout the series. The Raptors would go on to have 18 turnovers in game seven of the series, ultimately sending them home and costing them the series.

Toronto had their own trio go to work against the Celtics however, with the likes of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam battling. While their defense was just as superb if not better, the Raptors lacked a cohesive offense throughout the series. The disappearance of Pascal Siakam throughout the entire series only averaging 14.9 points while shooting 38% from the field and 12% from three played a big role in and could be the biggest reason the Raptors failed to advance.

“Obviously, I have to be better,” Pascal Siakam told reporters following the Game 7 loss, “It was definitely a learning moment for me just learning from this experience and just learning that you’ve gotta be ready and I wasn’t able to help my teammates. I take a lot of the blame, man.”

As the Toronto Raptors will look to attempt next season with the same squad, anything is possible this offseason. This primarily stems from the fact that the Toronto Raptors have three players in Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka entering free agency, all of which have the chance of signing elsewhere. 

While Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka may not make a return due to their age, Fred VanVleet should be the Raptors’ main priority entering the offseason. Losing him would be detrimental as the 26 year-old point guard is having a career year, averaging 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists and nearly 2 steals per game this season with no signs of slowing down.

The Celtics look to play the Miami Heat moving forward to claim a spot in the NBA Finals, and with both teams looking hungry for the win, this battle will be one to remember.

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