When Daniel Theis transformed Kemba Walker’s no-look bounce move that threaded the needle of Raptors defenders and slammed by means of the online with solely half a second left to play, it felt like a 3-Zero Celtics lead of their best-of-7 was a foregone conclusion Thursday night time.
Nevertheless, the Raptors, going through a two-point deficit (103-101), had another alternative to both drive time beyond regulation or finish the Celtics’ night time with a 3-pointer — they selected the latter. Kyle Lowry’s excellent cross-court inbound move from in entrance of the sport’s scorers desk landed within the palms of OG Anunoby, whose timing on the catch-and-shoot play was fast sufficient to launch the ball simply earlier than time expired.
Toronto now trails Boston 2-1, avoiding a devastating 3-Zero gap and the brink of elimination.
The Recreation-Profitable Play
ANUNOBY FOR THE WIN WITH .5 SECONDS LEFT 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/M6IdnSv5yd
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 4, 2020
“It felt good,” Anunoby stated about his game-winner when the ball left his palms. “Kyle (Lowry) made an important move. He waited lengthy sufficient, threw it within the air fast sufficient for me earlier than they obtained to me. Nice move from Kyle.”
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who says the play wasn’t designed to go to Anunoby as its first choice, gushed over his level guard’s intuition to seek out the open man and make the fitting play.
“There’s not loads of instances that you really want a, let’s name him 6-foot-1 guard, taking the ball out-of-bounds in a late-game state of affairs since you noticed what they (Celtics) do — they attempt to put dimension on it and restrict your imaginative and prescient,” Nurse stated. “We might attempt to do one thing comparable. However you say to me “Why’s Kyle taking it out?’ and I’m going to say as a result of he’s obtained some guts. And he’s going to make some gutsy performs on the market.”
Celtics’ Crunch Time Protection
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens turned to the tallest individual the NBA — Tacko Fall — to defend Lowry’s inbound move however a deflection got here to no avail, regardless of the gap Lowry’s move coated and the timing of all of it; solely half-a-second to spare.
“We’ve performed a zone (protection) lots in that circumstance,” Stevens stated. “They contorted it with their alignment nicely and once we matched up we simply didn’t get to the shot. Credit score them and credit score the power to make that shot below just a little little bit of duress with 0.5 and Lowry’s potential to ship that move over Tacko from that distance isn’t a straightforward factor to do. No query, we might have guarded just a little higher however that’s one thing that we’ll get higher at and simply transfer on.”
All Grit & Guts
Lowry’s game-winning help topped off a stellar night time for Toronto’s level guard, who completed with a game-high 31 factors on 13-of-23 from the sector, together with a pair of 3-pointers, six rebounds and three assists. He was one in every of 5 Raptors gamers who scored in double figures, together with Fred VanVleet (25), who related on 5 3-pointers, Pascal Siakam (16) and Anunoby, who added a dozen.
“We’ve had loads of gutsy performances from this crew, proper? I imply, it’s sort of what the group is, proper?” Nurse requested. “There’s Kyle (Lowry), there’s Fred (VanVleet), Pascal (Siakam), Norm (Powell); there’s loads of guys that actually have fought their entire lives to get to the place they’re. Amid anybody’s expectations, proper?
“You already know, the ball was bouncing humorous and to succeed in in and discover that gutsiness for that second half and discovering a method though it was very lucky to discover a method, I’m undecided that’s doesn’t rank up there with one in every of our gutsiest performances.”
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