Raptors and Celtics with eyes on semis, Clippers and Jazz extend lead

Houston (USA), Aug 22 (efe-epa).- The Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics continued their winning streaks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs with 3-0 leads, putting both teams just one victory away from the semi-finals, where they would be rivals.

Things are tighter in the Western Conference, where the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz won their respective games to clear a 2-1 lead in the series.

Cameroonian power forward Pascal Siakam was at the helm of the Raptor’s attack against the Brooklyn Nets to earn a 117-92 win in Game 3 of the tie, edging them that much closer to the semis.

The 3-0 playoff lead for the Raptors is the first in the team’s history and this Sunday they have the chance to extend that record to 4-0.

Fred VanVleet bagged 22 points, securing six of his 10 three-point attempts, while reserve power forward Serge Ibaka shone with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Point guard Tyler Johnson led the tally for the defeated Nets with 23 points while shooting guard Caris LeVert scored 15, point guard Chris Chiozza took 14 and French forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot took 10.

The harder-earned victory came for the Celtics, but with point guard Kemba Walker and small forward Jaylen Brown leading the team, they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 102-94, who, in turn, will need to win on Sunday to avoid elimination.

Walker topped off his best performance in the playoffs so far with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He recovered two balls and successfully blocked a shot, making him the indisputable leader of the team.

Brown re-assumed his role as a decisive player in the Celtics’ defensive line and scored 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Jayson Tatum, the team’s leader in the previous two fixtures, did not shine so brightly on Friday night and finished with 15 points but missed 13 of 19 attempts, including seven three-pointers.

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