Thursday, September 3, 2020

Raptors 104, Celtics 103: OG Anunoby's Game 3 buzzer beater keeps Toronto alive [BOS lead series, 2-1]

The Celtics were looking to take 3-0 series lead and win their seventh straight playoff game before OG Anunoby foiled their plans, as he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors a 104-103 victory in Game 3 on Thursday night.

Anunoby caught a crosscourt inbound pass from Kyle Lowry with 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock and let it fly despite a closing Jaylen Brown, who arrived a hair too late to disrupt the game-winner, giving the Raptors new life in this Eastern Conference semifinals best-of-7 series.

Toronto now trails the Celtics 2-1 after facing the brink of elimination when Kemba Walker found a cutting Daniel Theis for a two-handed slam, leaving half of a second left and with Boston up two.

No team in NBA playoff history has come back from a 3-0 series deficit and thanks to Lowry finding a roaming Anunoby and hitting him with a long-pass over a 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall, the Raptors live to fight another day.

Lowry finished with a game-high 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting and 8 assists, while Fred VanVleet scored 25 points. Pascal Siakam added 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Anunoby netted 12 for the Raptors, who have only beaten Boston for the second time all season in seven tries.

Walker led the Celtics with 29 points (9-15 shooting) and Brown notched his first playoff double-double of 19 points, 12 rebounds. Jayson Tatum struggled offensively going 5-18 for 15 points, but grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out a team-high 6 assists.

Boston withstood an early 10-3 deficit to open the game, before Walker scored 17 first quarter points and hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer to end the period -- and did it again to end the half, the C's led 57-47 over the Raptors at the break.

Despite the Celtics leading nearly the entire third quarter, Toronto grabbed a 68-66 lead with 2:55 left, but Boston headed into the final frame with an 80-76 advantage.

The Celtics trailed 95-91 with 5:57 left to play before they used a 8-0 run to go up 99-95 on a dunk by Brown. Lowry's pair of layups got the Raptors within two and a reverse layup by VanVleet tied the game 101-101 with 21.5 seconds remaining.

Coach Brad Stevens didn't call a timeout, as Walker used the next 20 seconds to draw two defenders in the paint before finding Theis for an easy two -- setting up Toronto's final miracle play to snap Boston's six game playoff win streak.

Both teams shot pretty evenly from the field (47 percent) and from behind the arc (32 percent).

The Celtics will look to take a 3-1 series lead against the Raptors on Saturday when Game 3 tips-off at 6:30 pm EST on TNT.

Game Notes:

Celtics barely out-rebounded Toronto (44-39) and outscored the Raptors in the paint (50-48). Marcus Smart, who was shooting well over 50 percent from the floor and 3-point line heading into Game 3, struggled on offense going 4-of-15 from the field and 2-of-2 from 3 for a total of 11 points.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of CBS Sports

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