Game 7 it is.
The Toronto Raptors have extended their title defence by virtue of an exhilarating, exhausting, thrilling 125-122 double-overtime Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists after playing 53 minutes. Norman Powell had his biggest game of the postseason, scoring 23 points on 6-for-11 shooting, with his biggest plays coming in the second half and in the extra time.
For Boston, Jaylen Brown led the way with 31 points while Jayson Tatum added 29 points despite shooting just 9-for-21 from the field.
If you've caught your breath after a wild, wild game, here are some observations from Toronto's Game 6 victory.
What. A. Game.
This is the heavyweight battle we expected from both of these teams coming into the series.
Two overtimes. 10 lead changes. Seven ties.
It was a marathon in which each team responded to the best shot from its opponent. Ultimately, the Raptors came out on top.
It's one of the best games we've seen this postseason.
There is no quit in this Raptors team
I mean, it's not a surprise at this point. It's the championship DNA that exists throughout the roster.
They trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half. Didn't matter.
The Celtics hit 19 3s. Didn't matter.
Pascal Siakam struggled to score. Didn't matter.
When it was time to make winning plays, the Raptors did just that. Following the lead of their captain and six-time All-Star guard, Kyle Lowry.
Another signature game from Lowry
In each of the Raptors wins this series, Kyle Lowry has been the best player on the floor.
Game 6 was no different.
You name it, Lowry did it for his team, finishing with 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the field and 6-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He also added eight rebounds and six assists…
Relive Kyle Lowry's CLUTCH jumper to seal the @Raptors 2OT W and force a GAME 7 on Friday at 9:00pm/et on TNT! #NBAPlayoffs #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/d0RrsMv90h- NBA (@NBA) September 10, 2020
In 53 minutes of action. 53.
Again and again, he shows just why he's this team's heart and soul.
The Raptors were due a big game from Norman Powell.
After averaging 8.6 points through the first five games of the series, Powell made his stamp all throughout Game 6.
In 38 minutes off the bench, Powell finished with 23 points, 15 of which came in the two overtime periods. Perhaps none were bigger than this and-one finish to put the team up four in double OT.
YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND THE GRIND pic.twitter.com/03Qh18wvFJ- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) September 10, 2020
Fred VanVleet put it best, telling reporters Powell "saved our season," per The Athletic's Eric Koreen.
An uncharacteristic night for Kemba
It was a bit of a different story for Boston's All-Star guard.
In just under 52 minutes of action, Walker finished with just five points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field, including 1-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. One of his two made field goals was a clutch bucket down the stretch but that was about it.
Expect him to bounce back moving forward to Game 7.
Nurse's teams find a way to respond
According to ESPN, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is now 39-15 (.722) following a loss in his head coaching career with the Game 6 win, good for the best winning percentage in NBA history (min. 50 games played).
That Toronto responded after a poor showing in Game 5 speaks to the team's resolve and resilience in such situations as well as the Coach of the Year's leadership.
Momentum shifted in the third
After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, Toronto entered the halftime break trailing by four.
Similar to the other quarters in the series, the Raptors swung things in their favour in the third.
The momentum shifted three minutes into the frame with the Raptors down 62-58. At the 8:29 mark of the quarter, Marcus Smart was whistled for a flagrant foul on an errant closeout on VanVleet, who would knock down three free throws and moments later, hit a triple.
This sequence ignited a 21-9 run that saw the Raptors lead balloon up to eight points before the Celtics clawed back at the quarter's end.
A game-changing sequence, indeed.
Gasol provides a spark
The fresh haircut wasn't the only new look we saw from Marc Gasol in Game 6.
After missing his first 11 3-pointers of the series, Gasol would hit two triples in the third quarter. He deserves plenty of credit for the momentum swing in that frame.
Gasol finished with eight points, two rebounds and an assist, which isn't a huge scoring night by any means but his hitting shots did wonders for a Raptors offence that was in need of an offensive punch with Pascal Siakam's continued struggles.
A tale of two halves for Brown
The first half was all Jaylen Brown.
Through the first two frames, Brown scored 21 points (on 8-for-18 shooting) and pulled down six rebounds.
21 1st half PTS for Jaylen Brown in Game 6 on ESPN! #Celtics #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Eix54D1hOb- NBA (@NBA) September 9, 2020
The second half … not as much.
Brown picked up his fourth foul in the third, throwing him off the trajectory he was on in the first half. It wasn't a bad half by any means, but Brown finished the game with 31 points on 11-for-30 (36.7%) shooting.
This is notable because it's Boston's first loss of the season in a game that Brown scores 25 or more points.
Game 7. The best two words in all of sports.
Toronto and Boston will meet for a chance to move to the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 a.m.
Catch you then.
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