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Celtics advance to East final; Nuggets force Game 6

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Bam Adebayo Jayson Tatum Heat Celtics

After making it a one-point game heading to the fourth, Toronto couldn't find enough in the tank to sneak out a win.

The Toronto Raptors on Thursday forced a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals of the National Basketball Association playoffs after Kyle Lowry led his side to double-overtime victory at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Out West, the LA Clippers and their two superstar wings proved to be too much for the Denver Nuggets down the stretch.

If you're wondering why it's so hard to oust a team with championship DNA, look no further than the Raptors' effort in Game 6. "He's just another opponent that I get the opportunity to go up against". The Angelenos dominated by 12 points at halftime with a great sense of solvency against a Colorado team that saw a very small basket in the first half. We know what we've got to do. The Celtics, like they did in Game 1, owned a sizable advantage in trips to the free-throw line in this one getting there 23 times to the 10 times Toronto did.

The Celtics are 6-3 against the Raptors this season, with four of those wins coming by at least 15 points.

As the final horn sounded and the victory secured, Jayson Tatum let out a defiant fist-pump which was one of the few times all night the cerebral star of the Boston Celtics let his feelings be known.

"I know what we're capable of", Walker said. We need that because that's kind of how we've chose to play. I love the way that our guys think like that as well, because I think confidence and your mental (approach) is the majority of this thing. "We showed it. Big time". The series outlook for Denver might have changed as quickly as the weather in Denver: It was 91 degrees there on Monday, and snow showers were falling on Tuesday.

In the West, the Nuggets survived against a Clippers who led for much of the game but were overcome in the final minutes. Paul George was quiet on Wednesday with 10 points (4-of-10 FGs), three board and three dimes, which is all the more reason to target Kawhi in fantasy leagues since he's quite clearly the alpha dog in this lineup. It's a good team, we've gotta win to keep our season alive, so yeah, it's gonna be terrible hard work. Jaylen Brown was still trying to make his strides with his perimeter shot and overall offensive game. Other team rallies back. Miami eliminated the regular season leader Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in the other East Semifinals.

The Heat have now advanced to the Eastern Conference finals against all odds, but the real fireworks are taking place in the Western Conference semi-finals. Marcus Smart had a game saving block on Norman Powell with 58.2 seconds left that shifted momentum into Boston's hands at the flawless time.

A VanVleet deep three and Siakam's tap-in pulled Toronto to within four, but then the Raptors unravelled due to turnovers.

Serge Ibaka called Lowry Toronto's "engine" and that's as apt a description of Lowry's role on the team as any. Freddie's always pushing me to keep going and stay in the moment. Since Game 2, the Clippers defense has shut the Nuggets offense down completely.

Toronto's 11 points in the opening frame was actually tied for the lowest by any team in the second round of the playoffs or beyond since 1991, per Sportsradar. When the league shut down six months to the day before Toronto's season ended, the Raptors had finally gotten healthy after fighting their way through a non-stop run of injuries to key players. Kyle Lowry had 16 points, and Pascal Siakam scored 13 with 11 rebounds. It doesn't seem like he's that bothered.

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