Celtics near East finals; Clippers score


    SIX Celtics scored in double figures, led by Jaylen Brown with 27 points, as Boston dominated the Toronto Raptors 111-89 Monday night to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series near Orlando.

    Kemba Walker added 21 points, Jayson Tatum had 18 with 10 rebounds, Brad Wanamaker and Daniel Theis scored 15 apiece and Marcus Smart 12 for the Celtics, who rebounded from two consecutive losses after they had blown a 2-0 lead in the series.

    Boston will get the chance to clinch a conference-finals berth with a Game 6 victory Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

    Fred VanVleet had 18 points to top the Raptors, who never led in the contest and trailed by as many as 30 points.

    The Celtics ran away early as the Raptors endured one of their worst scoring playoff quarters in franchise history. Boston was up 18-5 after 8 1/2 minutes as Toronto began 2-of-14 from the field.

    The Raptors ended the quarter shooting 4-for-20, and they trailed 25-11. They hit one of nine shots from 3-point range.

    In the other game, Paul George scored 32 points and Kawhi Leonard added 23 as the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Denver Nuggets 113-107 to grab a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

    The Clippers trailed by as many as 12 early in the game but were able to move two victories away from a berth in the Western Conference finals. Leonard grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and added a team-best six assists.

    Nikola Jokic had 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while Michael Porter Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets. Jokic became the first player in Nuggets history with 14 career playoff games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

    Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who scored 50 points twice in the first round against the Jazz, was held to 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting. However, he logged a game-high nine assists.

    The Clippers trailed 97-90 before going on an 8-0 run over a 1:10 stretch midway through the final quarter to grab a 98-97 advantage. Los Angeles extended the run to 14-4, taking a 104-101 lead with 4:27 remaining on a step-back jumper by Leonard.

    When Lou Williams made a driving layup with 2:04 remaining, the Clippers held a 109-103 advantage, their largest of the game to that point.