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Celtics Looking To Eliminate Raptors Wednesday Night, Advance To Eastern Conference Finals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP/CBS) — Kyle Lowry is obviously aware that the Toronto Raptors must win the next two games to get back to the Eastern Conference finals.

He doesn't want the Raptors thinking past Wednesday, however.

The season is on the line for the reigning NBA champions, who trail the Boston Celtics 3-2 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series and face a win-or-go-home Game 6 matchup on Wednesday night. The Celtics controlled start to finish on the way to a 111-89 win in Game 5, putting the Raptors on the brink.

Lowry said the Raptors can't be thinking about winning two games. Game 6, he said, is all that matters.

"We've just got to work on one," Lowry said. "I'm very confident in our group. Our group is very tough-minded, tough-spirited and we're a good team. We know what we've got to do. We've got to take one game at a time, one possession, one minute, one second at a time and just go out there and play."

The Celtics are 6-3 against the Raptors this season, with four of those wins coming by at least 15 points. Celtics guard Kemba Walker was "checking hearts" before Game 5 — he did so by slapping teammates in the chest before they took the court — and the person dubbed "Cardiac Kemba" had to like what he saw as Boston reclaimed the lead in the series.

"I know what we're capable of," Walker said. "We're capable of playing hard. That's a skill. A lot of guys on that team have that skill and have that ability. So, I checked my guys' heart. We showed it. Big time."

Jaylen Brown, who led the Celtics with 27 points in Game 5, said Boston's plan is simple for Wednesday night.

"Stay focused, stay locked in and execute the game plan," he said Monday night. "Play hard, play tough and hold each other accountable. That's all that matters."

The Miami Heat await the winner of the Celtics-Raptors series, after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

— NEED TO KNOW: The Celtics are on the brink of making the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in four years, and if they get there this time LeBron James won't be standing in their way. This is the fifth time that Boston has started a postseason run 7-2 or better through nine games; the other four instances were in 1961, 1964, 1969 and 1986, and the Celtics went on to win the NBA title in each of those seasons.

— KEEP AN EYE ON: Kyle Lowry. The Raptors' point guard said several times after Game 5 that he had to be more aggressive in Game 6. Expect him to try to set a tone early and put Toronto on his back, as he's done so many times before.

— INJURY WATCH: Raptors F Serge Ibaka (left ankle) was wearing a walking boot Tuesday but said he's still possible to play in Game 6. "I'm here for business and I have to take care of business," Ibaka said.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Toronto, obviously. The reign could end Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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