Smart’s big 4th leads Celtics past Raptors for 2-0 edge

Smart’s big 4th leads Celtics past Raptors for 2-0 edge

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Marcus Smart made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 102-99 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday night, putting the reigning NBA champions in serious trouble.

Smart scored 19 points, Kemba Walker had 17 and Jaylen Brown scored 16 for the Celtics, who now hold a 2-0 series lead. The Celtics are 3-0 against Toronto in the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World, and 5-1 against the Raptors this season.

OG Anunoby had 20 points for Toronto, which got 19 from Fred VanVleet — who missed a 28-footer as time expired. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam scored 17 points apiece and Kyle Lowry added 16 for Toronto.

Smart made three 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions in a 73-second span early in the fourth, then added another 3 about a minute later — and a four-point play a minute after that, putting Boston up 86-85 with 7:55 left.

It was part of a 29-9 run by Boston, with the Celtics going up 95-87 with 4:18 left.

NUGGETS 80, JAZZ 78

Nikola Jokic made the tiebreaking basket with 27 seconds left and Denver advanced to the second round of the playoffs by the slimmest of margins, beating Utah in Game 7 when Mike Conley’s 3-pointer spun out at the buzzer.

The Nuggets became the 12th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series, but only after they blew a 19-point lead in this game.

After Jokic’s basket, the Jazz got the ball to Donovan Mitchell following a timeout. The Nuggets stole it from him and raced down for a fast break, but Torrey Craig missed the layup. Utah rebounded and pushed the ball up the floor to Conley, whose jumper looked good all the way until it fell out.

Jokic had 30 points and 14 rebounds and Jamal Murray scored 17 points. No. 3 seed Denver advanced to face the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals.

Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Rudy Gobert finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds after a huge second half for the Jazz.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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