Clippers defeat Nuggets, take 3-1 series lead

OG ANUNOBY nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 57.5 seconds left in double overtime as the Toronto Raptors held on to beat the Boston Celtics 125-122 Wednesday night to force Game 7 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series near Orlando.

Norman Powell completed a three-point play for a four-point lead with 38.8 ticks remaining and added two more from the line in the final five seconds as Toronto held off a late Boston push. Six Raptors scored in double figures, led by Kyle Lowry with 33 points. Powell had 23 and Fred VanVleet 21.

Jaylen Brown had 31 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Celtics, and Marcus Smart had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in his second career triple-double. Jayson Tatum (29 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists) fell an assist short of his first triple-double. Kemba Walker scored just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Game 7 will take place Friday night. The winner will advance to face the Miami Heat in the conference finals.

Tatum hit a 3-pointer to get Boston within one with 6.2 seconds left in the second overtime. After Powell’s two free throws, Smart missed a chance at a game-tying triple with 1.5 seconds to go.

The Raptors led 106-104 in the first overtime before Lowry fouled Brown with 18.9 seconds remaining. Brown made both free throws, and Powell missed a 3-pointer with a second left as the game continued.

Down by seven early in the fourth quarter, the Celtics rode a 12-4 spurt to an 89-88 lead. Lowry answered with a pair from deep, and the Raptors led 94-89 with 6:20 remaining.

A Daniel Theis bucket and subsequent dunk tied the game at 98 with 2 minutes left. The score held until overtime, with Walker and Pascal Siakam missing chances at game-winners in the final 4 seconds of regulation.

VanVleet nailed three free throws and a pair of 3-pointers unanswered as the Raptors surged ahead 67-62 with 6:58 left in the third quarter. Toronto hadn’t led since 11:01 of the first prior to the stretch. The Raptors ended the third up 81-77.

The Celtics rode a 7-0 run early in the second quarter to the game’s first double-digit lead, 36-25. Boston entered the half up 52-48.

Kawhi Leonard recorded 30 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 96-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series on Wednesday night near Orlando.

Montrezl Harrell added 15 points, and fellow reserve Lou Williams tallied 12 as the Clippers took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Friday.

Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Denver, which failed to reach 100 points for the second time in the series. Jamal Murray had 18 points and seven assists, Michael Porter Jr. scored 15 points, and Gary Harris scored 10 for the Nuggets.

Denver also dug itself a 3-1 deficit in the first round against the Utah Jazz before winning three straight to claim the series.

Ivica Zubac had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Marcus Morris Sr. also scored 11 points for Los Angeles, which shot 41.8 percent from the field and was 8 of 28 from 3-point range. Paul George scored 10 points.

The Nuggets shot 39.7 percent from the field, including 9 of 27 from 3-point range.

Denver recovered from an early 17-point deficit to knot the score at 48 after scoring the first eight points of the third quarter.

But Leonard and Patrick Beverley scored baskets to start a 21-5 burst. Williams ended the run with a floater to give Los Angeles a 69-53 advantage with 3:33 left in the third quarter.

The Clippers led 73-63 entering the final stanza, but Harrell took over with Leonard resting by scoring the team’s first three field goals of the fourth quarter as the lead reached 80-65 with 8:51 left.

Leonard’s steal and length of the court drive for a layup made it 88-69 with 5:44 remaining.

A short time later, Denver used a 12-2 run to pull within 92-83 on Murray’s 3-pointer with 2:09 left. But Ivica Zubac scored the next three points, and Landry Shamet split two free throws to increase the Los Angeles lead to 13 and stomp out any final charge by the Nuggets.

Leonard scored 17 first-half points as the Clippers held a 48-40 lead at the break.

Los Angeles opened a 24-7 lead on Leonard’s basket with 2:25 remaining in the opening quarter. The Clippers led 26-12 entering the second period, and led by 16 after Leonard’s hoop with 7:34 left before Denver trimmed its deficit in half by the end of the stanza. — Reuters