Another thrilling set of games went down in the NBA on Wednesday, highlighted by the Toronto Raptors’ double overtime victory over the Boston Celtics to force a Game 7. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers did their thing again, and now hold a 3-1 lead in the series over the Nuggets. This is my breakdown of each matchup.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
Final score: 125-122 TOR (2OT)
Line: TOR +2.5
O/U: O 210
The Toronto Raptors came into Game 6 looking to keep their season alive and push the series to a Game 7, and they did just that with a 125-122 win in a double overtime thriller. Kyle Lowry was the best player on the floor tonight, with a 33-8-6 line. The Celtics got points from everyone today, except for Kemba Walker who was held to just five points on 2-11 shooting. Jaylen Brown had a team high 31 points and 16 rebounds, Jayson Tatum dropped 29 points and Marcus Smart had a triple double while also playing excellent defense. This game really tested the willpower of each team, as eight players played at least 50 minutes.
Although Toronto was phenomenal, I still think the Celtics were robbed in this one. The officiating, or lack thereof, was brutal, especially late. With under a minute to go in the fourth, Raptors coach Nick Nurse stepped onto the court and caused Jayson Tatum to pass the ball out of bounds, thinking Nurse was a teammate in the corner. That should have been called. With the game still tied at the end of regulation, Kemba Walker drove to the rim through a lot of contact, yet there was no call for a foul. There were some questionable calls on Tatum, and overall it was a dreadful officiating night that potentially altered the outcome of the game.
Looking ahead to Game 7, I have to give the edge to the Raptors. Both teams are exhausted, but Toronto has the momentum and that could end up being the deciding factor. Boston will desperately need Walker to be on his game, and the same can be said about Pascal Siakam for the Raptors, who shot 5-19 in Game 6. I can’t wait until Game 7 as it should be another nail biter.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets
Final score: 96-85 LAC
Line: LAC -7.5
O/U: U 222
The Clippers took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Nuggets, with a 96-85 victory in Game 4. Kawhi Leonard was spectacular with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. He was really the only Clipper who balled out tonight, as every other starter was held to less than 12 points. Paul George struggled again to the tune of 10 points. Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver, with 26 points. Los Angeles never allowed Denver to take a lead, and now they’re in the driver’s seat to close this series out.
The Nuggets have been in this position before, after storming back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Jazz. But the Clippers are not the Utah Jazz. Jamal Murray isn’t playing at the level he did against Utah, and Kawhi Leonard will do all he can to ensure the Clippers move on. If they do advance, it’ll be the franchise’s first ever trip to the conference finals.