Norman Powell rescued the Toronto Raptors' season with his performance in the double overtime win over the Boston Celtics, according to Fred VanVleet.

The reigning champions forced a Game 7 with a 125-122 triumph on Wednesday, having been 2-0 and 3-2 down in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. 

While Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 33 points, it was Powell's display that Raptors guard VanVleet was most thankful for.

Powell put up 10 of his 23 points in the second overtime period and nailed a crucial three-pointer to level the scores late on, throwing in a key block on Daniel Theis for good measure.

"He saved us. He saved our season," VanVleet said.

"That is his trademark now. You never know when it is going to happen, but it always happens at some point in the playoffs. He was huge for us.

"Obviously, Kyle was steady the whole night, but Norm really gave us a boost there."

The series will now be decided on Friday, with momentum firmly on the side of the Raptors, who VanVleet concedes were slow to get off the mark.

"I think everyone came into this series expecting a long series," he said.

"I don't think we lived up to that in the first couple of games. We were able to work ourselves back into position to give ourselves a chance. Game 7 to go to the Eastern Conference finals, all you can ask for is a chance.

"[It was a] pretty long game, longer than we all would have asked for, but time to get some rest and go back at it again."

Man of the hour Powell felt the contest underlined the Raptors' need to piece together a more complete display to make sure of their spot in the finals.

"I think the games that we've won [in this series] have shown we have to put together a full 48-minute effort," Powell said.

"Have no lulls, offensively or defensively. Whatever happens through mistakes and moments where we do mess up whatever the game plan is, we continue to fight through it and figure it out and help one another."

The Toronto Raptors forced a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, while the Los Angeles Clippers pulled clear in the NBA playoffs.

The Raptors drew level in the Eastern Conference semi-finals but needed double overtime to edge the Celtics 125-122.

A game-high 33 points from Kyle Lowry lifted the defending champions in Game 6 at the Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday.

The Raptors stayed alive thanks to the thrilling victory and despite Marcus Smart's triple-double of 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Boston.

Boston led by four early in the second period of OT and were up by three with one minute, 37 seconds remaining before Toronto fought back.

The Clippers moved into a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals after a 96-85 victory.

Kawhi Leonard finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4, in which the Clippers never trailed.

Powell produces, Jokic's big performance not enough

Norman Powell posted 23 points off the bench for the Raptors, shooting six-of-11 from the field.

OG Anunoby had a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Fred VanVleet finished with 21 points.

Celtics duo Jayson Tatum (29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists) and Jaylen Brown (31 points and 16 rebounds) almost saw Boston to a series win.

Brown, Tatum and Smart were the first trio of team-mates to have 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in the same playoff game since Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish achieved the feat for Boston in 1987, according to STATS.

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in Denver's loss.

 

Walker's woes

Kemba Walker went two-of-11 from the field to post just five points in more than 51 minutes for Boston.

 

Lakers face Rockets

Leading the Western Conference semi-final 2-1, the Los Angeles Lakers look to pull further clear of the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Kyle Lowry has been diagnosed with a sprained left ankle, the Toronto Raptors have confirmed.

The six-time All-Star played just nine minutes of the defending champions' 150-122 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, a win that sealed the franchise's first ever series sweep.

Toronto advanced to an Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Boston Celtics and Game 1 tips off on Thursday.

However, there will be concerns about whether point guard Lowry can play a part.

"The Toronto Raptors announced that guard Kyle Lowry has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain," a statement from the team read.

"Lowry underwent an MRI on the NBA Campus in Orlando after the injury, which occurred in the first quarter of Sunday evening's game.

"His condition will be updated as appropriate."

Lowry has averaged 19.4 points, 7.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 58 games with the Raptors this season.

The Toronto Raptors will be hoping Kyle Lowry is fit to feature against the Boston Celtics after easing through to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Toronto completed the first series sweep in franchise history on Sunday, though a fourth straight victory over the Brooklyn Nets may have come at a heavy price.

Lowry played just nine minutes of the 150-122 triumph that sealed the Raptors' progress, with head coach Nick Nurse revealing in his post-game media call that the point guard suffered an injury to the arch of his left foot.

The six-time NBA All-Star will wait for results from an MRI scan to discover the damage, leaving the defending champions unsure if they will have one of their key players available to face the Celtics.

However, Nurse - who described Lowry as a "big engine" for the team - hopes others can step up to fill the void, whether individually or collectively as a group, if the 34-year-old is sidelined.

"I won't be very comfortable without Kyle out there - he's a big engine for us," Nurse told the media.

"But I would say that we play a system or a style where lots of guys are involved.

"We're going to miss all of those great things that Kyle does if he's not playing, but someone else will take shots, play defense, play tough, do all the things he does and make up for it. Or, we do it by committee, which is probably the better way."

He added: "You've got to go out there with who is healthy and available, and you've got to think there is a good chance you can figure out a way to win. That's what we will do, either way."

Despite being without Lowry, Toronto coasted past the Nets. Norm Powell had 29 points and Serge Ibaka contributed 27 as the bench came up big in Game 4, contributing 100 points to the cause.

Still, they will hope to have one of their key players on the floor when they open the series against the Celtics, who impressed Nurse with the way they swept past the Philadelphia 76ers, on Thursday.

"I think they're really good," he replied when asked about Toronto's next opponents. 

"They are super-talented, really deep and very well coached. I think they're playing great at the moment.

"They put away a very talented Philadelphia team with ease, with ease. There was never a doubt in that series where it was going, bar maybe a little bit in one game. 

"I'm hoping it's a great series. We're going to need to play good to beat him."

The Toronto Raptors were like "walking zombies" as their 15-game winning streak came to an end against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, according to Kyle Lowry.

Reigning NBA champions the Raptors' 101-91 loss at Barclays Center was their first defeat since January 12, having been on a run that has seen them surge up to second in the Eastern Conference with a 40-15 record.

Toronto scored just 40 points in the first half and trailed by 12 at the break, failing to reduce the deficit to single figures across the rest of the game.

Lowry had 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, with the team's field goal percentage of 38 their lowest since before the streak started.

"They played well, we didn't play too well. They stuck with their coverages, their game plan, their schemes," said Lowry.

"We were walking zombies. We didn't play well tonight, simple as that. We missed shots, we weren't aggressive. And give them credit, they played their butts off and they beat us. It's only one game."

Head coach Nick Nurse was proud of how his team have performed this season after Kawhi Leonard left in free agency.

He hopes they can launch another deep run in the playoffs when Marc Gasol and Normal Powell return from injuries.

"I think when you look at it in totality, sitting where we are now, I think we're extremely pleased to get to this point," said Nurse. "The good news is I think we'll get Gasol back after the break, Norman Powell is pretty close as well.

"I think our team really battled with a couple of key guys missing. I think we've had a healthy team for two games this season, so we've done a nice job of plugging in and picking up. In the big scheme of things, you look at the overall and where you're sitting, you've got to be pleased with that."

The Raptors head into the All-Star break six and a half games back from the Milwaukee Bucks (46-8) at the top of the East.

Asked if the Bucks are catchable, Nurse said: "I don't know if they are or not and I don't think we've got them in our sights. We want to try to finish as high as we can.

"We've got some growth to do and we need to do it for sure if we want to make a run at [the championship] again."

Devin Booker was the most notable omission as six first-timers won NBA All-Star selection among the 14 reserves named on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook headlined the list of players selected by NBA coaches to round out the roster options for Team LeBron and Team Giannis.

Phoenix Suns guard Booker was denied a place despite averaging 27.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists through 44 games this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Paul, Houston Rockets star Westbrook, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz youngster Donovan Mitchell snatched Western Conference guard spots, the latter handed his maiden selection alongside team-mate and fellow first-timer Rudy Gobert.

Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis will also be among the newcomers at United Center in Chicago on February 16.

Suns general manager and three-time NBA champion James Jones questioned Booker's absence.

"I've played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All-Star," Jones said in a statement.

Frenchman Gobert's inclusion alongside Sabonis (Lithuania), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Nikola Jokic (Serbia) plus starters Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) lifts the number of international players to eight, a record for an All-Star Game.

The 2020 edition will feature several format changes to honour Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Among them will be a 'target score' to chase in a timeless fourth quarter, the figure being the leading team's tally after three periods plus 24 points - representing the number Bryant wore during the second half of his glittering NBA career.

LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo, the designated captains, will select their teams from the available player pool on February 6.

 

Eastern Conference reserves:

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

Western Conference reserves:

Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their heaviest loss of the NBA season on Monday, while Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard inspired victories with stunning performances.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis featured from the start but the Lakers never got going in a heavy 139-107 defeat to the Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum registered a game-high 27 points to help Celtics team-mate Kemba Walker celebrate his first career win against superstar James at the 29th attempt.

Joel Embiid's absence through injury failed to hurt the Philadelphia 76ers as Simmons shone in a 117-111 road victory over the slumping Brooklyn Nets.

Simmons enjoyed one of the best games of his career, posting a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, plus five steals.

There was similar joy elsewhere for Damian Lillard, who erupted for a career-best 61 points – including 11 three-pointers – as the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the Golden State Warriors 129-124 in an overtime thriller.

 

Westbrook heroics not enough as OKC complete comeback

Russell Westbrook's 32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds went unrewarded as the Houston Rockets squandered a big lead to lose 112-107 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets were overrun after taking a 16-point advantage into the fourth quarter, as Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari shared 53 points for OKC.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) also recorded a triple-double, the reigning MVP reaching 10,000 career points as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 111-98.

The Miami Heat resumed their charge in the Eastern Conference, outlasting the Sacramento Kings 118-113 in overtime.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Denver Nuggets bounced back to winning ways, topping the Timberwolves 107-100 thanks to double-doubles from Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr.

 

Lowry misses out in Atlanta

The Toronto Raptors claimed a 122-117 win against the Atlanta Hawks but it was still a game to forget for five-time All Star Kyle Lowry, who went three-of-11 from the floor and missed each of his five three-point attempts.

 

Brown posterises LeBron!

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had 20 points and a huge dunk on an NBA superstar at TD Garden.

Monday's results

San Antonio Spurs 120-118 Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers 129-124 Golden State Warriors (OT)
Utah Jazz 118-88 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 106-100 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 122-117 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 117-111 Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat 118-113 Sacramento Kings (OT)
Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 Houston Rockets
Orlando Magic 106-83 Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans 126-116 Memphis Grizzlies
New York Knicks 106-86 Cleveland Cavaliers
Boston Celtics 139-107 Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets 107-100 Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Clippers at Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis could return from a knee injury when the Dallas Mavericks (27-15) entertain the Los Angeles Clippers (30-13) in Tuesday's only game.

Nick Nurse never feared the Toronto Raptors would "mail it in" after witnessing his side produce a stunning franchise-record comeback to deny the Dallas Mavericks.

The defending champions trailed by 30 points late in the third quarter of Sunday's contest but produced the biggest NBA fightback in a decade to secure a memorable 110-107 win at Scotiabank Arena.

Even more impressively, the Raptors were without forward Pascal Siakam (groin), center Marc Gasol (hamstring) and shooting guard Norman Powell (shoulder) but Kyle Lowry saved 20 of his 32 points for a dramatic fourth quarter.

Head coach Nurse had nothing but praise for the fighting spirit within his roster.

"I would say historically we've always been a team that fights," Nurse said.

"In my time here, we hardly ever mail it in. It's a good characteristic to have. That thought barely came into my head there, and I said, 'we're going to give it a go here to start the fourth.'"

Lowry refused to take the individual plaudits, instead choosing to praise a cast of reserves including Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris Boucher, Terence Davis and Malcolm Miller.

"We had a great team effort," said Lowry, who also contributed eight rebounds and 10 assists. 

"Malcolm, Terence Davis, Rondae and Chris Boucher, I give them all the credit today. They won that game for us. Give those guys the credit, man, seriously."

The Los Angeles Lakers lost in LeBron James' absence in the NBA on Sunday, while the Toronto Raptors rallied from 30 points down to beat the Dallas Mavericks.

James missed the clash with the Denver Nuggets due to a thoracic muscle strain and his absence hurt the Western Conference leaders in a 128-104 loss at Staples Center.

Anthony Davis played almost a lone hand for the Lakers (24-6), posting 32 points and 11 rebounds as he fought through a suspected knee problem sustained after an awkward fall in the third quarter.

Kyle Kuzma added 16 points on his return from an ankle injury but there was no stopping the Nuggets (20-8), who were inspired by Paul Millsap's 21 points and a double-double from Will Barton (14 points, 13 rebounds).

Defending champions the Raptors, meanwhile, set a franchise record with their incredible 110-107 win against the Luka Doncic-less Mavericks.

Kyle Lowry led the way with 32 points and 10 assists as Toronto (21-8) overturned a 30-point third-quarter deficit to record their largest-ever comeback victory.

 

Giannis guides Bucks past Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo fell one assist short of a triple-double as his 18 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-89 rout of the Indiana Pacers, who were on a five-game winning streak before Sunday's contest.

Jayson Tatum put up a career-high 39 points on 15-of-29 shooting in the Boston Celtics' 119-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets to stay in touch with the Bucks.

Paul George endured an unhappy return to Oklahoma City as the Los Angeles Clippers, who rested Kawhi Leonard, led for three quarters before slipping to a 118-112 defeat to the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, part of the trade that sent All-Star George to the Clippers, posted 32 points for the second time in a week.

 

Brogdon's rough Bucks reunion

Before facing the Bucks, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said he would not have left Milwaukee had he been properly "valued". He gave his old team little cause for regret at Fiserv Forum, making five of 19 shots from the floor and going zero-for-four from three-point range.

 

Monk's massive dunk

Malik Monk provided a highlight for the Hornets with a huge dunk over Enes Kanter.

Sunday's results

Toronto Raptors 110-107 Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics 119-93 Charlotte Hornets
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112 Los Angeles Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks 117-89 Indiana Pacers
Denver Nuggets 128-104 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Raptors at Pacers

Toronto will look to carry their momentum into Monday's important Eastern Conference encounter with the Pacers, who have a point to prove after falling well short against the Bucks.

Kyle Lowry suffered a fractured thumb and Serge Ibaka sustained an ankle injury in the Toronto Raptors' 122-104 road win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Friday's victory, secured after a superb 44-point showing from in-form Pascal Siakam that matched his career high, came at a cost for the defending NBA champions, who moved to 6-2 for the season.

X-rays confirmed Lowry, 33, suffered a small fracture in his left thumb when he was attempting to steal the ball from Pelicans center Derrick Favors in the first quarter. 

The injury is unrelated to the surgery he had on the same thumb in the offseason and he will now see a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Saturday.

"It felt weird from the rip," said five-time All-Star Lowry, who initially tried to play on after the injury before leaving the game midway through the second quarter. 

"I kept playing through it and kept playing through it. Originally, we thought it was something in the nail bed because the nail bed turned black and blue. It's a little more serious than a nail bed. I'll be fine."

Ibaka was in a walking boot after the game having suffered a severely sprained ankle as he contested a lay-up from Brandon Ingram – who led the Pelicans with 27 points - late in the second quarter. He was visibly in pain as he lay on the court.

Head coach Nick Nurse said: "I didn't see what happened but the report is it is pretty bad."

The Raptors, who have impressed so far without the departed Kawhi Leonard, are now set to be shorthanded as they travel to take on the Los Angeles Lakers (7-1) on Sunday.

Injuries to the two regulars will lead to an even greater reliance on man-of-the-moment Siakam and Lowry said of his team-mate: "He is evolving into a superstar."

Kyle Lowry will remain with the Toronto Raptors for another two years after signing a one-year extension on Tuesday.

The reigning NBA champions confirmed the All-Star guard had agreed a new deal and, according to Lowry's agent Mark Bartelstein, the extension is for a further year and worth $31million.

Lowry had one year left on his old contract and will earn $33.3m this season, with the fresh extension keeping him off the free agent market next summer. 

“Kyle has been at the heart of every successful run our franchise has achieved the past seven seasons,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “He is a competitor, a winner at every level and the engine that our players and city feed off from.”

Lowry, 33, added he was proud of the success he had experienced in Toronto so far.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved with the Raptors, and I'm happy to be able to continue to call Toronto my home,” Lowry said.

"Bringing a championship to the city of Toronto and the country of Canada has been one the best things I've done so far in my career, and I'll push for that goal every single year I play this game.”

Since Lowry joined the Raptors in 2012, he has been part of five All-Star teams. He is entering his 15th season in the league and eighth with Toronto, which makes him the longest-tenured player on the roster.

During the Raptors' postseason run in the last campaign, Lowry averaged 15.0 points per game with 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 37.5 minutes of play.

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