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Raptors, Nuggets in NBA semis victories

Pascal Siakam had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Lowry added 22 points and 11 boards as the Toronto Raptors evened the Eastern Conference semi-final at two games apiece, beating the Boston Celtics 100-93.

Two days after winning Game 3 on OG Anunoby’s 3-pointer as time expired, the Raptors didn’t need any big shots.

Instead they just put together long stretches of stops, shutting down most of Boston’s perimeter shooters and Jaylen Brown in particular.

Serge Ibaka had 18 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting and Fred VanVleet finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Jayson Tatum had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics.

They won their first six post-season games before dropping the last two.

Kemba Walker had 15 points and eight assists.

The Celtics were a half-second from taking a 3-0 lead, from which no NBA team has recovered, after Daniel Theis’ basket gave them a two-point lead on Thursday.

But Anunoby’s 3 got the defending NBA champions, who overcame a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference finals, on the way to what they hope will be a similar recovery.

Coach Nick Nurse assumed the Raptors would quickly refocus after the euphoria of that victory.

He was right, as Lowry sent them to a quick 11-4 lead with eight points.

Lowry scored 11 points in the first quarter, which ended with Toronto leading 31-27.

After some cold perimeter shooting by both teams, the Raptors finally had a strong stretch late in the third, getting two 3-pointers by VanVleet and another by Ibaka in a little over a minute to open their largest lead at 79-68.

Toronto led by eight after three.

The Celtics never got closer than five in the final quarter and when they did for the final time, Tatum was called for an offensive foul with 32 seconds left.

In the Western Conference semi-final series, the Denver Nuggets never trailed on the way to beating the Los Angeles Clippers 110-101 in Game 2.

Jamal Murray scored 27 points, Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 18 rebounds while Gary Harris and Paul Millsap each added 13 points to help Denver knot the series at a game apiece.

Paul George scored 22 points for the Clippers, who got 15 from Ivica Zubac and endured a rare off night offensively from Kawhi Leonard.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP had 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, but shot only 4 for 17.

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