• AP

  • SHARE

The Toronto Raptors faced a sizable early deficit. They trailed in the fourth quarter. And again in the first overtime. And again in the second overtime.

Exhausted and on the brink, the reigning NBA champions rose to the moment.

Next up: Game 7, for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami.

OG Anunoby — the hero of Game 3 with a buzzer-beating 3 — put the Raptors ahead to stay with a 3-pointer with just under a minute left in double overtime, Kyle Lowry got an acrobatic jumper to fall with 11.7 seconds left and the Raptors beat the Boston Celtics 125-122 in Game 6 on Wednesday night.

“Game 7 to go to the Eastern Conference finals,” Toronto guard Fred VanVleet said. “All you can ask for is a chance.”

Lowry scored 33 points in 53 minutes for Toronto. Norman Powell had 23, including a three-point play with about 39 seconds left and a pair of free throws to help finish it off. VanVleet scored 21 points for the Raptors, and Anunoby had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Lowry was on his back, laying on the court, breathing fairly heavily and with his fists thrown high in the air when Powell had the three-point play.

That’s about when he realized the Raptors weren’t flying home Thursday.

“Thank you, Norm. … That was cool. We needed that,” Lowry said.

Jaylen Brown had 31 points and 16 rebounds for the Celtics, who had their starters on the floor — without a single sub — for the final 22-plus minutes.

Jayson Tatum had 29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Marcus Smart had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with about 3 seconds left in the second extra session.

“We had a lot of opportunities down the stretch and we didn’t take care of the all as good as we needed to,” Brown said. “That’s fine. We’re heading into a Game 7. We feel good about ourselves.”

It was the first time that a team went multiple overtimes and won to stave off elimination in a best-of-seven series since April 30, 2009 — when Chicago forced Game 7 by beating Boston 128-127 in triple OT. The Celtics went on to win Game 7.

Daniel Theis had 18 points for the Celtics. Theis played 47 minutes – the other four Boston starters, Tatum, Smart, Brown and Kemba Walker (who was held to five points, in large part because of the box-and-one that Toronto used at times), all logged at least 50. And tempers flared when it was over, everyone getting a few extra words in before Game 7 on Friday.

The numbers were ridiculous: Boston shot 44 for 100, Toronto 44 for 101.

“Great basketball game,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

RELATED PHOTOS

Coronavirus banner