NBA: Celtics, without Jayson Tatum, edge Raptors, extend streak to 9

Jaylen Brown Celtics NBA

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics drives against Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on January 21, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.

The Boston Celtics, without the injured Jayson Tatum and the early departures of Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, beat the Toronto Raptors 106-104 on Saturday to extend their NBA winning streak to nine games.

Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and Grant Williams added a career-high 25 for the Celtics, who improved their league-best record to 35-12.

After Thursday’s dramatic overtime win over the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics trailed 85-81 in the fourth quarter.

But they opened the final frame with a 9-0 run courtesy of three-pointers from Brown, Peyton Pritchard and Grant Williams and stayed in front until Toronto tied it at 103-103 on a Gary Trent Jr. three-pointer. Equalized. :23 to play.

Pritchard, who scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, drained another three-pointer that proved to be enough.

Malcolm Brogdon added 23 points off the bench for Boston, whose leading scorer Tatum was sidelined with a left wrist injury.

Tatum, who is averaging 31.2 points per game, third in the league, scored 51 points in Monday’s win over Charlotte and had 34 with 19 rebounds against Golden State in 48 minutes in an overtime victory.

Grant Williams said Tatum’s absence was no reason for the Celtics to surrender their elite-team mentality, which is aiming to return to the NBA Finals for the second straight year after falling to Golden State in the title series. was

“Every night we compete at the highest level,” he said. “We can never settle for less or just take a night off because it’s just not us.

“You can’t back down from a challenge, even if you’re down 12 guys, no matter if you’re down four, even if you’re down two, even if you’re a full team.

“You have to do your job.”

Smart rolled his right ankle in the second quarter and left the game while Robert Williams, who hurt his left knee, played briefly but sat out the second half.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzola said Williams’ injury was “nothing serious” and that Smart had a sprained ankle.

“The X-rays were negative,” he said of Smart, who had to be helped off the court. “So it’s just about how he can deal with it day-to-day.”

Pascal Siakam had 29 points and 10 assists to lead the Raptors, who were missing Fred Van Vleet with sore ribs. OG Anunoby left in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle.

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