The defending champions will be champions no longer. That is the main news coming out of Friday night’s main event meeting between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. After a terrific series, Game 7 took place, and it also did not disappoint, despite it being tight, tense, and low-scoring. In the end, it was Boston advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on the Miami Heat following a 92-87 victory. A lot of the plaudits will deservedly go the way of Jayson Tatum, who had 29 points, but a lot of the credit also has to be extended toward Marcus Smart.
He had a crucial, clutch block down the stretch to help them preserve the lead and ultimately move on. The Raptors had a tough night from the field, with Fred VanVleet leading the way with 20 points despite shooting just 8-20 from the field. In the other game on the night, the early cap this time around, the Denver Nuggets stayed alive in their series with the Los Angeles Clippers thanks to a 111-105 win in Game 5. That brings the series to 3-2 and gives them some hope, though you will have to imagine it’s going to be tough to win two more in a row. Kawhi Leonard, though he fell on the losing side, was a monster, scoring 36 points, but it was the team effort from Denver that carried the day. Jamal Murray was the high scorer with 26, but Paul Millsap played a decisive role down the stretch by scoring 14 of 17 total points in the third quarter alone to help them come from as many as 15 behind. Michael Porter, Jr. also was clutch with a late three-pointer, propelling them to a victory that they could not do without.