NBA: Celtics produce wire-to-wire win over Raptors to snap 7-game run, Magic and Nets make play-offs

(REUTERS) – Jaylen Brown scored 20 points and Jayson Tatum added 18 as the Boston Celtics rolled to a 122-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday (Aug 7) night near Orlando in their NBA game.

Kemba Walker scored 17 points in a contest in which Boston never trailed and led by as many as 40. Brad Wanamaker added 15 points, Daniel Theis contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds, Semi Ojeleye tallied 11 points and Robert Williams III scored 10 for the Celtics.

Fred VanVleet scored 13 points to lead Toronto. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam added 11 points apiece and Terence Davis had 10.

The Raptors had won seven consecutive games, including their first three contests since the resumption of play.

The Raptors also missed an opportunity to clinch the No. 2 seeding in the Eastern Conference. Toronto hold a three and a half-game lead over third-placed Boston with four games remaining.

The Celtics are 3-2 since the restart at the National Basketball Association “bubble” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

In another game, Tobias Harris scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lift the hosts Philadelphia 76ers past the Orlando Magic 108-101 but the Magic ended up the day’s big winner nonetheless.

Despite the loss, they clinched the Eastern Conference’s final play-off spot after the Washington Wizards lost to the New Orleans Pelicans later in the day.

Joel Embiid added 23 points and 13 rebounds while Alec Burks scored 22 points. Al Horford had 21 points and nine rebounds and Shake Milton handed out a career-high eight assists for the Sixers, who won their third in a row.

Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Evan Fournier added 22 points.

Elsewhere, Caris LeVert scored 22 points and the Brooklyn Nets clinched a play-off spot for the second straight season with a 119-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

The Nets (33-36) improved to 3-2 since the restart and rebounded nicely from a 149-115 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday night.

They are seventh in the Eastern Conference, one and a half games ahead of the Magic, whom they face on Tuesday.

Against the title holders, Boston shot 49 per cent from the field and made 16 of 46 (34.8 per cent) from three-point range. The Celtics were 8 of 12 from behind the arc in the third quarter when they outscored Toronto 39-20.

The Raptors, who committed 18 turnovers, shot just 42.7 per cent from the field and were just 10 of 38 (26.3 per cent) from long range.

Toronto trailed by 10 less than two minutes into the third quarter before Boston responded with a 36-12 surge covering the remainder of the stanza.

Tatum scored five straight points early in the run to push the lead to 18.

Later, Tatum and Brown buried back-to-back three-pointers to make it 76-52 with 4:48 remaining.

Brown canned consecutive three-pointers and Wanamaker followed with a basket to push the margin to 29 with 1:19 remaining in the third. Walker scored the period’s final five points, including a three-pointer with 3.8 seconds left, as the Celtics took a 91-57 advantage into the final quarter.

Grant Williams sank a short jumper to make it 111-71 with 6:30 left in the contest.

Brown and Theis scored 11 first-half points apiece, and Boston led 52-37 at the break.

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