Pascal Siakam and the Raptors end the Celtics’ good streak

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Toronto (Canada) (AFP) – The fight ahead of the play-offs is still tight in the NBA East, where the Raptors ejected the Celtics from first place on Monday by ending Boston’s six-game winning streak thanks to a 115-112 success after extra time.

Carried by the 40 points and 13 rebounds of Pascal Siakam, the Raptors took advantage of the absence from the Celtics of the pivot Robert Williams III – victim of a tear in the meniscus of the left knee, he should be on the sidelines for a long time – but also Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, four holders.

Thanks to this success, Toronto players remain in 6th place in the East, the last that offers direct qualification for the play-offs, with a record of 43 wins and 32 losses, like Chicago, defeated 109-104 Monday in New York, and just ahead of Cleveland, which sits in 7th place, the first offering a play-off spot, with 42 wins and 33 losses after beating the Orlando Magic 107-101.

« It was a great team victory, » said Pascal Siakam, long kept away from the field last year, after having to have shoulder surgery. « It’s been a long road, so I’m very happy to be back to work hard and play to my strengths, » added the Cameroonian winger.

With this defeat, the Celtics, who had previously chained 11 victories in 12 games, suddenly slipped from first place – which they had occupied only since the day before – to fourth in the Eastern Conference, still extremely tight at the approaching the play-offs, which will begin in mid-April.

Easy winners of Sacramento 123-100 in Florida, the Miami Heat players regained first place in the East, ending a series of four consecutive defeats.

The Lakers under pressure

« We were very disappointed after these last four games, » admitted Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. « But I don’t mind these kinds of shows, it forces you to sort out some issues. There are details that we needed to change and that we will continue to change. »

“Our squad is deep and ticks a lot of the boxes that we think are essential for the play-offs. If we are lucky enough to go through several rounds, we will face situations that require different responses and we believe that our versatility and the depth of our workforce are great assets, » commented Spoelstra.

While waiting for the play-offs, Wednesday already announces a big shock in the East, which could still upset the classification of the conference, with the displacement of Miami … in Boston.

In the West, the Warriors, deprived of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, suffered a third defeat in a row, severely corrected 123-95 in Memphis by the Grizzlies who are still ahead of them in 2nd place in the conference behind Phoenix.

Also note, the fourth consecutive victory of the Spurs of Gregg Popovich in Houston, 123-120, which places the Lakers under enormous pressure: with 31 wins and 44 losses, San Antonio is now just behind the Angelenos (31 v.-43 d.), who occupy 10th place in the West, the last qualifier for the play-off accession play-offs.

In the other meetings of the evening, Denver went to win 113-109 in Charlotte, with a big triple double from Nikola Jokic (26 pts-19 rbds-11 pd), Atlanta won 132-123 at the Pacers , and the Thunder defeated Portland 134-131 after overtime.

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