The Toronto Raptors have life in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
In a thrilling, back-and-forth battle, the Boston Celtics looked like they were poised to take a 3-0 series lead when Kemba Walker found Daniel Theis on an easy dunk with under one second remaining.
The Raptors stayed calm as head coach Nick Nurse drew up a fantastic sideline out of bounds play that Kyle Lowry executed to perfection, finding OG Anunoby on a last-second shot to win the game.
For more on this electric Game 3, we have you covered with some takeaways below.
Anunoby's game-winner spoils Walker's pass
Walker's poise was on full display on what was expected to be the last possession of the game, finding centre Theis on an incredible pass to take the lead with just 0.5 seconds on the clock.
WHAT A PLAY pic.twitter.com/o6JQBBZMjk- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 4, 2020
In need of a miracle, Lowry found Anunoby tucked away in the far corner on the inbound, who then knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!??!?! pic.twitter.com/9dfLglhKM5- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) September 4, 2020
Life from Siakam and VanVleet
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have both struggled to this point in the series - a direct correlation with the team's 2-0 deficit heading in to Game 3.
Siakam's start to this contest looked like more of the same, picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, finishing the first half with just two points and zero made field goals. As for VanVleet, he was able to knock down a couple shots early but still wasn't completely in rhythm.
That changed for both of those players after halftime as they finally started to get going. Siakam scored 11 points in the third frame while VanVleet posted a fast nine points.
Sometimes, all you need is to see a couple fall to heat up and that was exactly the case with VanVleet, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter. Siakam would continue to attack as well, effectively helping the Raptors claw their way back into the game.
Siakam would finish with 16 points shooting 6-for-15 from the field - a less than ideal stat line, but much prettier than you would have expected through the first two quarters of the game.
VanVleet stepped up for his team with 25 points and six assists, including a clutch layup that tied the game with under 25 seconds to go.
Walker picks up where he left off
In Game 2, Walker couldn't buy a bucket until the fourth quarter. He was 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point range entering the final frame. He'd finally find his touch in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field including a couple clutch buckets down the stretch to close out the Raptors.
He carried that momentum into Game 3, wasting no time to get going. Walker erupted for 17 points in the first quarter shooting 5-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He was aggressive in attacking the paint, drawing a couple fouls while going 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the quarter. He'd cap off his red hot start with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Celtics an early 33-28 lead through one period.
.@KembaWalker buries another triple at buzzer to cap off a 17 point first quarter 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uh7y8IWkNn- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 3, 2020
After scoring four points in the second quarter including another buzzer-beater to close out the half, Walker went into the break with 21 points - a higher total than any individual Raptor had tallied in either of the first two games of the series.
He'd finish with 29 points shooting 9-for-15 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3.
Catalyst Kyle Lowry
The Raptors do not win this game without the steady presence of their floor general Lowry.
The team captain was Toronto's only constant source of energy throughout the entire game. Others on the team had their moments and bright spots, but it was Lowry that was able to keep the Raptors ticking the entire night, all the way down to the last pass of the game.
Lowry finished with a game-high 31 points to go with a stuffed stat sheet of eight assists, six rebounds, and two steals.
Brown reaches a playoff career-high by halftime
Jaylen Brown only needed one half of play to corral a playoff career-high 10 rebounds. Brown notched a double-double by halftime, scoring 10 points to go with his 10 boards.
To add to his efforts on the glass, Brown was consistently the primary defender on Siakam, who only had two points going into the break. The Celtics star wing found a way to affect every aspect of the game, and that didn't stop at halftime.
Brown's double-double would increase to 19 points and 12 rebounds to go with an impressive four blocks.
A quiet showing from Tatum
Jayson Tatum was on fire in Game 2, going off for 34 points to help lead the Celtics to their second straight win.
In Game 3, Tatum still showed flashes of his superstardom with a couple of patented step-backs, but he struggled to consistently score the rock. The All-Star forward would finish with 15 points shooting 5-for-18 from the field and 1-for-4 from 3 - his lowest scoring output of the series.
However, he made his impact felt in other areas of the game, grabbing nine rebounds to go with a team-high six assists. No assist was bigger than this beautiful feed to Brown fresh off of an offensive rebound.
What a pass by JT! 👀 pic.twitter.com/xvebsn5xLC- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 4, 2020
His scoring output was missed tremendously, though, as the Celtics would ultimately fall at the buzzer.
Raptors third quarter
Boston led by 10 points at the half but the Raptors weren't going to let their rivals run away with it. Sparked by head coach Nick Nurse's defensive switch to a zone, Toronto began to charge back into the game.
Lowry, who had been Toronto's only consistent offensive scoring output in the first half, stayed hot in the third quarter while VanVleet and Siakam finally met his energy.
Lowry kept his motor running with nine points in the quarter and VanVleet matched that. After failing to convert a field goal in the first half, Siakam scored 11 points in the third frame going 5-for-10 from the field, looking much more aggressive on the offensive end.
While the Celtics still led by four going into the fourth quarter, the energy certainly shifted in the Raptors favour for the first time this contest following their resurging third quarter sparked by that zone defence.
Robert Williams brings the energy again
Williams has been a massive spark of energy off the bench for the Celtics all series and this game was no different.
He provided one of the game's biggest highlights throwing down this vicious dunk over two Raptors defenders.
TIME LORD ON ATTACK 🔨💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/Vjk0gHrbrZ- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 4, 2020
Ibaka moves up on the all-time NBA Playoffs blocks list
Serge Ibaka's first block of the game marked the 282nd block of his career in the NBA Playoffs, moving him past Celtics' Hall of Famer Kevin McHale for 8th on the all-time playoffs blocks list.
Congrats to @sergeibaka of the @Raptors for moving up to 8th on the all-time #NBAPlayoffs BLOCKS list! pic.twitter.com/jUfh9Osz8d- NBA (@NBA) September 3, 2020
Ibaka finished the game with two blocks, leaving him with 283 rejections - 20 shy of Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing for the next spot on the list. He is 29 blocks away from cracking the top-five in all-time playoff blocks.
The Raptors will have a chance to even the series on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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