The Toronto Raptors may have salvaged their season with a heart-stopping 104-103 win on Thursday night in game 3. OG Anunoby might have given Toronto life, for now at least, by hitting a game-winning three from the corner with 0.5 left on the clock to avoid an insurmountable 3-0 lead for the Celtics. In a wild, back and forth game, the Raptors made the biggest play of them all to get the win. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet finally overcame their shooting woes, as Lowry led Toronto with 31 and VanVleet added 25. Pascal Siakam added 16 points on a night when all 5 starters for the Raptors scored in double figures. Kemba Walker had 29 for Boston, while Jaylen Brown added 19 and Jayson Tatum scored 15 on just 5-18 shooting.
The game was back and forth all night long as Boston trailed early, but took a 5 point lead into the second quarter, and held a 10 point lead at the half. The Raptors got it within in 4 heading into the 4th and that’s when the fun really began. With 5:57 to go in the game, Marc Gasol made a bunny to give the Raptors a 4 point lead. It wouldn’t last long though as the Celtics scored the next 8 to take a 4 point lead themselves capped off by a thunderous dunk by Jaylen Brown with 3 minutes remaining. After Lowry traded buckets with the Celtics on back to back possessions, the Raptors had the ball with a chance to tie and VanVleet came through, hitting an acrobatic lay-up to tie it at 101 with 21 seconds remaining.
After that, Walker made a huge play again, something he has started to make look easy in these playoffs, where he found Daniel Theis on a great bounce pass for the slam. The play looked like it would seal the Raptors fate as it put Boston up 103-101 with 0.5 on the clock. The Raptors needed a miracle, and Lowry and Anunoby answered their prayers. Lowry fired a beautiful cross court pass on the inbound to Anunoby wide open in the corner and he let it fly and the rest was history. Now at least Toronto doesn’t have to try and become the first team to ever come back from down 3-0. This win could give them the momentum back a little bit and make this a series, or it could be just a blip on the radar for a Boston team that has looked dominating these playoffs.
It took a wild ending and a miracle buzzer-beater, but the Raptors were able to climb back into the series while handing Boston its first loss of these playoffs. After the game, coach Brad Stevens said “it hurts and stings to lose, but we’ll just get back to it and get ready for Saturday.” Walker was quoted after the game saying “much credit to those guys, that was a hell of a shot, we knew they wouldn’t quit.” He and the rest of the Celtics have to be disappointed that instead of taking a commanding 3-0 lead into game 4 they are only up 2-1 in what looks like just became a series. It gives life to a Toronto team that has been outplayed up to this point in the matchup.
It will be interesting to see how both teams react and come out in game 4. Will the Celtics shake off the loss and regain control, or can the Raptors build off of this victory and tie the series up at 2? Come Saturday’s game four those questions and more will be answered.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP
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