The Celtics won Game 2 thanks to critical plays down the stretch, but make no mistake about it: they wouldn’t have gone up 2-0 without Marcus Smart’s heroic shooting early in the fourth quarter.
Down eight entering the final period after trailing by 12 just minutes earlier, Smart canned three 3-pointers on three consecutive Celtics possessions to bring the team within one, at 80-79, with 9:46 remaining on the clock.
Believe it or not, he wasn’t done there.
Smart went on to can two more 3-pointers in the quarter, first at the 8:55 mark to tie the game at 82-82, and then again at the 7:55 mark to tie the game at 85-85. Smart converted on a free throw after the last trey to give Boston an 86-85 lead – its first lead since the 10:07 mark of the third quarter.
All told, Smart scored 16 straight points for Boston from the 10:59 mark of the fourth quarter to the 7:55 mark – a span of only three minutes and four seconds. He single-handedly provided the Celtics with a lead, and more importantly, with momentum that carried them through the finish line for the win.
Smart did not score again the rest of the game, as Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum took over the offensive load for the C’s. Walker scored nine points over the final 7:21 of the game and Tatum scored seven over the final 5:41 to combine for Boston’s final 16 points of the night.
Tatum also played what Brad Stevens called “tremendous defense” on the final possession of the game, which forced Fred VanVleet to miss a potential game-tying 3-pointer in transition as the final buzzer sounded.
Jayson Tatum just continues to rise to new levels of stardom while dominating in the NBA Playoffs.
Tatum’s latest performance, a masterful offensive showing during Game 2 against Toronto, led to a new playoff career high of 34 points during a 102-99 victory. Tatum’s 34 points were by far a highest total in the game, as no other player in the game scored more than 20.
His big scoring night was buoyed by his ability to get to and succeed from the free-throw line. Tatum set a new playoff career high with 14 free throw attempts, of which he converted every single one. Those 14 made free throws set a new career high – including the regular season.
And it doesn’t stop there. Tatum also set a new playoff career high with six assists, a total that led Boston’s team. He rounded out his box score with eight rebounds and a steal during his more than 42 minutes of playing time.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston limited Toronto to 40.0 percent shooting from the field and 27.5 percent shooting from long range.
- The C’s shot 23-for-25 (92.0 percent) from the free-throw line, thanks in large part to Jayson Tatum’s 14-for-14 performance.
- Tatum scored a game-high 34 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
- Tatum’s six assists led the Celtics.
- For the second consecutive game in this series, no Raptors player scored more than 20 points.
- Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet tied for the game high in assists with seven apiece.
- Toronto outscored Boston 44-24 in the paint.
- Daniel Theis blocked a game-high three shots while tying Serge Ibaka for the game high in rebounds with nine rebounds.
- Lowry led the game with four steals.
- OG Anunoby led Toronto with 20 points.
- The contest featured 19 lead changes and 12 ties.
- Rob Williams came off the bench to score 11 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting.
Quote of the Night
I ain’t never played with nobody like Smart. I ain’t never met nobody like Smart. He. Is. One. Of a kind.
Jayson Tatum on Marcus Smart