Celtics rally late to beat defending champions Raptors

BOSTON (AP) – Kemba Walker said he wants to earn the role of being a leader with the Boston Celtics this season. He didn’t mind following his teammates in Boston’s win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Walker recovered from a second straight poor shooting start to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and help the Celtics rally to beat the defending NBA champions 112-106. Jaylen Brown had 25 points, including a key three-pointer in the closing minutes.

Jayson Tatum finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.

Walker said support from his teammates helped him shake off a zero-for-five start from the field, just two days removed from his four for 18 performance in Boston’s season-opening loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

“That’s what I needed,” Walker said. “The things that they said to me are the things that I needed to hear. They saw my face, kind of down at times. They just kept encouraging me.”

The Celtics shot only 38 per cent, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. They had 109 attempts in the game. Pascal Siakam scored 33 points and had eight rebounds to lead the Raptors, who went 18 of 36 from the three-point line.