Al Horford hit a fadeaway jumper as time expired on Sunday as the Boston Celtics rallied to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 97-96 at the TD Garden.
Boston, 999/1 to win the NBA Championship outright, had trailed by 16 at the half and looked likely to see their lead trimmed in the Atlantic Division before storming back in the second half.
Horford led the way for the Celtics with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds while also handing out five assists. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier were all in double figures for the hosts who secured their fourth in a row and continue to lead Toronto by two games in the standings.
The Raptors are next on the slate for Boston as the two teams meet at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday in the opening contest of a two-game road swing that also takes in a trip to face the Washington Wizards in the nation's capital. The Raptors were too strong for the Memphis Grizzlies, also on Sunday, as Toronto eased to a 101-86 triumph over the visitors.
The Celtics and the Raptors lead the Eastern Conference by a comfortable margin over the chasing pack with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers currently residing in the playoff places.
Those teams are also the only eight sides in the Conference with a .500 or better record with only the Detroit Pistons, with newly acquired Blake Griffin, and the Charlotte Hornets showing any signs of life below them.
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