|Game Factors: Celtics 106, Raptors 104 in NBA|
After scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Warriors on Thursday night, Al Horford stated that he "truly wanted to win" that game.
He must have wanted to win against Toronto on Saturday night as well.
Horford single-handedly secured Boston's unexpected victory over Toronto by winning four crucial plays in the game's last 10 seconds.
First, with 14.1 seconds remaining and Boston leading 106-104, Horford defended Pascal Siakam flawlessly as he drove to the hoop for a potential game-tying shot. Horford compelled a jump ball on his shot challenge after saving Jaylen Brown by moving onto Siakam after Brown's failed attempt to steal.
Horford and Siakam contested the jump ball with 8.6 seconds remaining; Horford won the tip, but neither team was able to gain control of the ball. Horford reached in and became entangled with Toronto's Scottie Barnes, resulting in yet another jump ball with 6.1 seconds remaining. Horford also won this tip, allowing the Celtics to call a timeout with 3.8 seconds left.
The Celtics should have won at that moment, but they needed one more big play from Horford after failing to inbound the ball safely after the timeout. Grant Williams was called for an offensive foul prior to the inbounding of the ball, giving Toronto one more opportunity to tie or win.
Once more, Toronto shouted Siakam's name, and once more, Horford offered the ideal help defence that ultimately secured the victory. As Siakam reached halfcourt, Horford joined Brown in a double-team, which resulted in the ball being knocked out of Siakam's hands and into Horford's.
Horford stole the ball while dribbling out the last seconds of the game, and then sprinted off the floor and into the Boston locker room to celebrate the stunning victory.
Saturday night in Toronto, Payton Pritchard scored the fourth-most points for his team, yet he is featured in our Key Player section. Without his strong shooting in the fourth quarter, Boston's winning streak would have come to an end.
In the fourth quarter, Pritchard made not one, not two, not three, but four 3-pointers to lift the Celtics to their second consecutive comeback victory.
Celtics defeat the Raptors 106-104 with injured players Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams missing the game— Hoop Muse (@HoopMuse) January 22, 2023
They’re now on a 9-game win streak and move to a 35-12 record (1st in NBA) pic.twitter.com/rXJv6iTnfh
The first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter came just 63 seconds in, giving Boston their first lead since the second quarter.
At 8:13 of the fourth inning, Boston's second triple doubled their advantage from three to six.
The third was scored at 5:53, extending the Celtics' lead to eight points.
And after a quick Toronto rally, the fourth and final three-pointer, which proved to be the game-winner, was made with 1:30 remaining to break a 103-103 deadlock.
Pritchard totalled 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the game. During his roughly 26 minutes of activity, the Celtics outscored the Raptors by 19 points, giving him the game's best plus/minus rating by a considerable margin.
The Boston bench outscored the Toronto bench 62-14.
Williams scored 25 points, a career high.
Malcolm Brogdon added his own 23 points.
Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 27 points.
Siakam nearly missed a triple-double while recording game-highs in points, assists, and rebounds (29, 10, and 9).
Brown led the Celtics in points (27), rebounds (eight), and assists (four) (six).
In fewer than eight minutes of playing time, Blake Griffin was a plus-13.
All four of Payton Pritchard's 3-pointers (12 points) were made in the fourth quarter.
The C's triumphed despite Toronto's 53.5% field goal percentage.
Both teams accumulated 41 total rebounds.
Eight of the ten Celtics that participated in the game each blocked one shot.