Saturday, April 01, 2023|
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TORONTO — Grant Williams scored a career-high 25 points, Jaylen Brown had 27 and the Boston Celtics overcame the absence of leading scorer Jayson Tatum to extend their winning streak to nine games by beating the Toronto Raptors 106-104 on Saturday.
Already without Tatum, Boston’s injury woes worsened when guard Marcus Smart hurt his right ankle in the final minute of the first half and had to be helped to the locker room.
He did not return.
Center Robert Williams stayed in the game after Brown collided with his left knee in the opening quarter. At halftime, Williams was ruled out for the second half because of a hyperextended knee.
“It says a lot about our team,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said of the short-handed victory. “In the beginning of the game, you could obviously feel that we just didn’t have the juice. We just kept playing. We never wavered, we made great plays. Guys did a great job managing the game.”
Williams had left knee surgery last March but returned in the playoffs.
Mazzulla said Williams’ latest injury was “nothing serious,” adding that X-rays on Smart’s ankle revealed no structural damage.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and Payton Pritchard scored all of his 12 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics are unbeaten since a Jan. 3 defeat at Oklahoma City.
“To win in the NBA is hard enough, to win on the road down a bunch of guys is hard to do,” Brown said. “You don’t want to take it for granted, but we definitely have enough on this team, enough in this locker room, to win games whoever is on the floor.”
Al Horford scored five points and shot 2 for 10 but had a rebound, a blocked shot and a steal in the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter.
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