By Brendan Mcgair, The Associated Press on December 29, 2023.
BOSTON (AP) – Jaylen Brown returned from a one-game absence to score 31 points and feed Luke Kornet for the tiebreaking basket as the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 120-118 on Friday night.
After Scottie Barnes tied the game at 116 with a 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining, Boston found Kornet for a dunk with 32 seconds left. Boston’s lead stood at 119-117 when Barnes drove down the lane but couldn’t finish. Down three after replay determined that a foul occurred before the final horn, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam went to the line with 1.4 seconds left. He made the first but missed the second as the Celtics melted away the remaining time.
Brown, who missed Boston’s overtime win Thursday that sent the Detroit Pistons to a record-tying 28th straight loss because of a back injury, swished 3-pointers on three straight possessions in the first quarter. The All-Star guard shot 5 of 6 from beyond the arc and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Derrick White finished with 21 points while Kornet added 20 for Boston, which committed 16 turnovers that led to 22 points for Toronto.
The Celtics, who were without starters Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis along with key reserve Al Horford, improved to 16-0 at home and own the league’s best record (25-6). Boston won its fifth straight and 10th game in 11 tries.
Boston led by 15 at halftime and was up by double figures entering the fourth quarter. When Dennis Schroder nailed a 3 from the right wing, Toronto had its first lead since the first quarter at 104-102 with 8:18 remaining.
Barnes led Toronto with 30 points on 7-of-15 from 3, while Siakam scored 28. Boston has won all three meetings this season against Toronto.
Raptors: At Detroit on Saturday night for the finale of a three-game road trip.
Celtics: At San Antonio on Sunday night.