The Boston Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals with a 92-87 win against defending champions the Toronto Raptors in the series’ deciding game.
Raptors’ Fred VanVleet missed a three-point attempt that would have tied the game at 90-90 with 12 seconds left then Kemba Walker made his free throws at the other end to seal the win. Celtics’ Jayson Tatum starred with 29 points and 12 rebounds in game seven. The Celtics will face the Miami Heat in the conference finals. Game one of that series – Celtics’ third conference finals appearance in the last four seasons – will take place on Tuesday. Heat reached the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2014 with a 4-1 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Raptors had come back from 2-0 down to tie the series against Celtics at 3-3, but VanVleet’s 20 points were not enough to help them to victory. Jaylen Brown added 21 points and eight rebounds for Celtics, while Marcus Smart had 16 points, six assists and a crucial block in the final minute. “I tip my hat to Toronto. They’re the defending champs and they have a lot of heart,” Tatum said. “They made us earn that. I think we responded after almost being up 3-0, then tied 2-2. It was big and I think it’s going to help us moving forward.”