Updated: Sep 17, 2020
On the memorial day of 9/11, Game 7 of the Toronto-Celtics series was played for a spot in the Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. It's safe to say the future of the league is in good hands, as Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics to reach the Conference Finals since 2018. Tatum, who was a rookie at the time, had been a mentee of Kyrie Irving until last season when chemistry problems came up. Tatum also took inspiration from the late Kobe Bryant.
The C's, who had a 2-0 series lead, were pushed to a game 7 by a Kyle Lowry-led Toronto Raptors team. The Raptors had fared much better than expected by clinching the second-seed, only to be left in the dust by Milwaukee. Boston sweeped the 76ers in the first round, and Toronto, the Nets. This duel was predicted by many professional analysts, and Boston was the favorite to come out on top. Boston's youth and pace would end up giving them the edge, as Lowry and Marc Gasol are both set to retire in the near future.
There was also a performance factor, and it was clearly with Beantown. Although the Raps had more players who scored in double figures, Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 50 points, which is as much as Toronto's top three scorers. Overall, Boston's starting five scored 85 points, as to the Raptors' 59.
Celts also made history, along with the Heat, to both make the Conference Finals without being the 1 or 2 seed. It's going to go down as one of the best playoffs matchups in recent history. The last time these two teams squared off in the conference finals, it was back in 2012, when LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh (the new big three) played against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett (the original).
The Celtics and Heat are both defying the odds this season and will both be satisfied, when one tops the other.