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Marcus Smart, Celtics defense cool down the stretch, now move on to the Heat

The Celtics are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a game-saving block from Marcus Smart and stellar defense. Our A. Sherrod Blakely has more from the C’s thrilling Game 7 win.

Blakely: Smart, C’s defense make the difference in Game 7 win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics had been here more times than they would care to remember against the Toronto Raptors lately.

With less than a minute to play, a hard-charging Norm Powell was barrelling down the lane with the only thing seemingly standing between him and a basket was Marcus Smart.

Clinging to a slim two-point lead, Marcus Smart delivered yet another gem of a play by coming up with a blocked shot.

In a Game 7 matchup filled with strong defensive plays by both teams, Smart once again came up with the play of the game that helped Boston hold off the Raptors and escape with a 92-87 Game 7 win.

Boston now moves on to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the last four seasons, where they will face the Miami Heat.

“The hustle, the block, the toughness … he’s a huge part of our team, a huge part of our organization,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We got a chance to play in this great event (the playoffs) every year he’s been here and it’s not a coincidence.”

SCARY MOMENT: After a Toronto miss in the fourth quarter, Kemba Walker threw a deep pass to Jaylen Brown who finished with a dunk that gave Boston an 81-73 lead. However, Brown was slow to get to his feet after landing awkwardly.

Fortunately for Boston, Brown was able to continue playing but after the game, Brown said he was sore but the victory has a way of dulling the pain some.

Jaylen Brown slips after his dunk and goes down.

Brown is back on the floor. 🙏🏼 #Celtics pic.twitter.com/3tQw7eVhMQ — Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 12, 2020

TURNING POINT: With the Celtics leading 89-87, Toronto’s Norm Powell attacked the basket for a potential game-tying basket, only for Marcus Smart to block his shot with less than…

A. Sherrod Blakely

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