Heading into Game 6, the defending champion Toronto Raptors seek to even the series against the Boston Celtics and force a Game 7. The Celtics snapped the Raptors two-game mini-streak with a resounding 22-point victory in Game 5.

Boston Celtics Toronto Raptors Game 6 NBA Playoffs
The Boston Celtics swarm Toronto Raptors big man Pascal Siakim. (Image: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty)

The Celtics won the first two games of this matchup before the Raptors rallied and won two in a row to even the series at 2-2. In Game 5, the Celtics prevailed 111-89. All five starters for Boston tallied at least 12 points.

#3 Boston Celtics (3-2) vs #2 Toronto Raptors (2-3)
Tip-off: 3:40pm PT
Point Spread: BOS -3.5
Total: 210 o/u
Money Line: TOR +145 / BOS -160

According to DraftKings, the Boston Celtics are -400 to win the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors are +300 to pull off the remarkable comeback and win the next two games to avoid elimination.

According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Celtics improved to 5/1 odds to win the NBA championship, while the Raptors are 16/1 odds to win the title in back-to-back years.

Celtics One Win Away from East Finals

With the Celtics, you never know which guy will be the top scorer on any given night. That’s what makes them so tough to defend. Because if it’s not one guy’s night, someone else on the team steps up and carries the load.

In Game 5, Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 27 points.

“We were playing with great purpose,” said head coach Brad Stevens. “You could feel that from the get-go.”

“Our defense really set up our offense,” added Walker. “It worked out for us.”

The Celtics lost Game 3 by one point. They dropped Game 4 by seven points in another close affair. If either of those games swung the other way in crunch time, this series would be over.

There is a glimmer of hope for Toronto fans, however. The Boston Celtics aren’t exactly super-closers in the postseason. According to ESPN’s Stats & Info department, the Celtics are 17-21 in close-out games since 2008.

“The job’s not finished yet,” added Brown. “We’ve still got a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Toronto Perimeter Woes, Siakim’s Slump

It’s been a rough series for Pascal Siakim. He averaged nearly 23 points per game in the regular season, but the Celtics held him to 15.8 ppg. It’s been a combination of bad shooting and smothering defense from the Celtics. In Game 5, Siakim scored 10 points in only 29 minutes of action due to foul trouble.

The poor 3-point shooting continues for Toronto. The Raptors hit 63-for-204 from 3-point range for 30.8%. They’re averaging 41 trey attempts per game. The Raptors are 2-0 in games in which they connect on 13 or more 3-pointers against the Celtics.

Game 1 10-40 25.0% LOSS
Game 2 11-40 27.5% LOSS
Game 3 13-40 32.5% WIN
Game 4 17-44 38.6% WIN
Game 5 12-40 30.0% LOSS

In Game 5’s loss, the starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet combined for 3-for-10 from downtown. The starters shot 4-for-18 from beyond the arc.

“We just didn’t play crisp enough,” said Lowry. “We didn’t look at the rim early enough in the shot clock to attack. But it happens. Now, we got to watch the film and make adjustments and play for our lives.”

“We’ve been here before,” said VanVleet. “There’s a lot of ups and downs in the playoffs. One thing we’ve got to do is just stay together.”