Boston went on to beat NY in a thriller with Jayson Tatum giving Boston a 103-100 lead with a pair of free throws with 7.9 seconds remaining after hitting a clutch fadeaway seconds before. He intentionally missed on the third in an attempt to help one of his teammates execute a game-tying putback, but the ball ended up in the hands of Celtics big man Al Horford as time expired. But Irving had five points and an assist in a 7-0 burst that put the Celtics on top again and they held on from there, with Tatum hitting a tough turnaround jumper with 21 seconds left and missing a dunk earlier in the possession.
The last-minute loss was the second in as many nights for NY, which fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 107-105, on Friday, when Hardaway missed the potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
The Celtics are considered one of the Eastern Conference favorites but coach Brad Stevens said the Raptors were clearly better now and Boston needed to improve after Toronto's 113-101 victory Friday night. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Hardaway tied the score at 89-89 with 4:14 remaining.
Massive manhunt underway for suspect in shooting death of Georgia police officer
Police presence was heavy Saturday evening in neighborhoods a few miles east of Stone Mountain. "Toney to cover", police said. This is the fifth death the Gwinnett County Police Department has experienced in the line of duty.
While Valanciunas, Siakam, VanVleet, Anunoby and CJ Miles each finished in double digits for scoring, and Norman Powell had a team high +20 on the night and gave the Raptors some good minutes, this game was about Kyle Lowry in the end.
Celtics: Aron Baynes got the start with Hayward out and scored 10 points.
Knox was disqualified from the remainder of the game because he couldn't shoot the subsequent free throws. The Knicks said X-rays for Knox are negative. The Celtics will rest Hayward as he continues to recover from the left ankle injury he suffered in last season's opener.
Stevens added that there are no plans in place to rest Hayward regularly on the second night of back-to-back games.