Former Indiana basketball star OG Anunoby saved the Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were dead in the water. The NBA’s northernmost team came into their game Thursday night trailing the Boston Celtics 2-0 in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. They struggled in game three as well, throwing up bricks from three-point range for the better part of the game.
Still, the Raptors fought to stay in the game and found their gumption in the second half, outscoring Boston by 11 points in that portion of the game. The final seconds gave us a thrilling finish. First, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet drove in and hit a tough layup to tie the game with 21 seconds to go. Then, Celtics point guard Kemba Walker dished a beautiful bounce pass to Daniel Theis, who hammered home a dunk with just .5 seconds remaining.
The Raptors called timeout to advance the ball down two. Kyle Lowry had to inbound the ball over the Tacko Fall, the only human being able to cosplay as a skyscraper at 7’6″. He lofted it cross-court to Indiana’s own OG Anunoby, who quickly caught the ball, put up a three, and watched the ball swish through the net as time expired.
Anunoby’s clutch heroics quite literally saved the defending champs from going home. A series that was .5 seconds away from becoming an insurmountable 3-0 deficit is now 2-1.
Anunoby finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Of course, he provided stifling defense on the wing as well — par for the course for Anunoby. Boston’s Jayson Tatum was held to 15 points and 5/18 shooting, largely due to Anunoby’s defense.
The Raptors came into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams to finish the regular season, but an uncharacteristically bad two-and-a-half games in round two provided for some serious concern. Still, the defending champs are still alive and fighting in the playoffs, and it’s all thanks to a Hoosier.