BOSTON (AP) The race for the highest seed within the Jap Convention is getting extra attention-grabbing.
Marcus Morris had 25 factors and 9 rebounds earlier than getting ejected within the closing seconds, and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the East-leading Toronto Raptors 110-99 on Saturday night time.
Jayson Tatum added 24 factors, six rebounds and 4 assists as Boston posted its sixth straight win and moved inside two video games of Toronto for the highest seed within the East. Terry Rozier completed with 21 factors and 7 assists.
Each groups have six video games remaining. They meet for the ultimate time on Wednesday in Toronto.
”We’ve to see them twice in per week, and we all know it’s going to be a battle,” Rozier mentioned. ”However I say we don’t let the standings dictate something. We simply go on the market and we play and we go to conflict. That’s what occurred tonight.”
The Celtics bought their 53rd win, matching their whole from final season.
Issues bought heated within the closing seconds, when 4 technical fouls have been assessed between the groups. Morris was hit with two and was tossed. Toronto’s C.J. Miles and Serge Ibaka acquired one every.
The kindling for the ejection got here when Morris dribbled into the entrance court docket and was fouled with 10.9 seconds remaining. He then started jawing backwards and forwards with Raptors gamers.
”I simply thought the sport was over and simply suppose the foul was a bit of an excessive amount of, being down 10 with (10 seconds) left,” Morris mentioned. ”It bought a bit of heated.”
The ending did little to damper the efficiency of Morris or his teammates over the previous 47 minutes.
For Morris, it was his fourth straight recreation with at the very least 20 factors – a profession excessive.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 32 factors, seven rebounds and 7 assists. Ibaka added 15 factors and 10 rebounds.
After giving up 24 factors within the paint within the first half, the Celtics blended in some zone defensively within the second half to attempt to restrict the Raptors’ alternatives.
It was efficient, and helped ignite a 10-Zero Celtics run that gave them a 104-94 lead with Three:27 left on a layup by Tatum.
”It had rather a lot (of impact),” Raptors level guard Kyle Lowry mentioned. ”We have been caught outdoors. They did a great job within the zone. We didn’t make any performs. We needed to determine it out. We simply didn’t determine it out fast sufficient.”
There have been 15 ties and 20 lead adjustments in a recreation that was performed inside 5 to six factors many of the night time.
”No matter they’ll do, we will do,” Morris mentioned. ”We simply play exhausting. A pair guys stepped up. … It was a great crew win.”
Raptors: DeRozan prolonged his franchise report for 30-point video games to 92. … Toronto’s franchise-record streak of hitting at the very least 10 Three-pointers got here to an finish at 17 video games.
Celtics: Rozier has scored 10 or extra factors in 25 straight video games. He’s the seventh Celtics participant since 2010 to have a streak that lengthy. … Aron Baynes‘ two Three-pointers have been a profession excessive. He entered the night time 1 for 19 from past the arc. The one he made beforehand was in Boston on Nov. 30, 2014. … Morris (proper ankle sprain) and Al Horford (left ankle sprain) each returned after lacking a recreation.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens mentioned he bought his first peek at Kyrie Irving for the reason that All-Star had surgical procedure final week to take away a rigidity wire in his left knee.
”Noticed him (Friday), spent loads of time with him. His spirits are good,” Stevens mentioned. ”Bending (and) extending his knee on a coaching desk. No on-court movies. No 360 dunks. Simply extending his knee on a coaching desk.”
Irving is out at the very least for the rest of the common season. The crew mentioned restoration would take three to 6 weeks.
Taking part in the Celtics highlighted the Raptors’ well being. Toronto had its complete roster accessible, which coach Dwayne Casey mentioned was ”enormous” for his crew’s prospects going ahead.
”That was one of many issues coming into this 12 months – to verify we in the reduction of some minutes,” Casey mentioned. ”DeMar and Kyle (Lowry), hold their minutes again to verify they didn’t get these high-usage charges on their physique. Knock on wooden, it’s not over but.”