Norman Powell rescued the Toronto Raptors' season with his performance in the double overtime win over the Boston Celtics, according to Fred VanVleet.
The reigning champions forced a Game 7 with a 125-122 triumph on Wednesday, having been 2-0 and 3-2 down in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
While Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 33 points, it was Powell's display that Raptors guard VanVleet was most thankful for.
Powell put up 10 of his 23 points in the second overtime period and nailed a crucial three-pointer to level the scores late on, throwing in a key block on Daniel Theis for good measure.
"He saved us. He saved our season," VanVleet said.
"That is his trademark now. You never know when it is going to happen, but it always happens at some point in the playoffs. He was huge for us.
"Obviously, Kyle was steady the whole night, but Norm really gave us a boost there."
The series will now be decided on Friday, with momentum firmly on the side of the Raptors, who VanVleet concedes were slow to get off the mark.
"I think everyone came into this series expecting a long series," he said.
"I don't think we lived up to that in the first couple of games. We were able to work ourselves back into position to give ourselves a chance. Game 7 to go to the Eastern Conference finals, all you can ask for is a chance.
"[It was a] pretty long game, longer than we all would have asked for, but time to get some rest and go back at it again."
Man of the hour Powell felt the contest underlined the Raptors' need to piece together a more complete display to make sure of their spot in the finals.
"I think the games that we've won [in this series] have shown we have to put together a full 48-minute effort," Powell said.
"Have no lulls, offensively or defensively. Whatever happens through mistakes and moments where we do mess up whatever the game plan is, we continue to fight through it and figure it out and help one another."