It was a sold-out crowd for the Raptors vs. Celtics NBA pre-season game in the Bell Center, Montreal.
The Toronto Raptors took advantage of Jayson Tatum’s third-quarter ejection and concluded pre-season action with a 137-134 thrilling overtime win over the Boston Celtics on Friday.
Down for most of the fourth quarter after invariably leading the previous three, the Celtics rallied in the final minutes.
Looking to steal the game away from the Raptors and their home crowd away from home, Boston guard Payton Pritchard missed the potential game winner as regulation came to a close.
Khem Birch was the starting center for the Toronto side in his hometown. The Montrealer picked up four points, four rebounds, and two assists.
The Bell Centre crowd got an early opportunity to cheer on their local player when Birch drove to the net for a dunk in the first quarter.
The Celtics pulled away with a 12-point lead in the second quarter but Anunoby’s 25-point first half paced the Raptors as they fastened the gap.
Boston held a 66-63 advantage at halftime thanks to Tatum (15), Jaylen Brown (12) and Derrick White (14) all finishing the half with double-figure scoring.
Tatum was sent out of the game after receiving a second technical foul with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter and Toronto made a push and tied the game at 98-98 going into the fourth.
The Raptors pulled away with a seven-point advantage in the fourth quarter but Boston came back to take a 125-124 lead when Sam Hauser hit a three-point shot with 1:12 remaining.
The Raptors rallied with 10 points in the extra frame and stop the Boston team in every effort to win the game.
Montreal native Chris Boucher did not play due to a left hamstring strain and remained in Toronto with a non-COVID illness.
Tickets for Friday’s game sold out in nine minutes. The Bell Centre hosted eight pre-season games as part of the NBA Canada Series.