How Nick Nurse, Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby saved the Raptors’ season with one excellent play

The Raptors knew Thursday night time’s Recreation Three in opposition to the Celtics fell below the must-win class after they misplaced Video games 1 and a couple of of their Japanese Convention semifinal sequence. No NBA workforce has ever gained a playoff sequence after falling right into a Three-Zero gap.

So when Boston guard Kemba Walker labored his means round a double-team and located Daniel Theis for a straightforward dunk with Zero.5 seconds left in regulation, giving his workforce a 103-101 lead, it felt just like the Celtics might have already punched their ticket to the following spherical.

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However these Raptors by no means stop, and so long as Coach of the Yr Nick Nurse can draw up yet one more play, they’re by no means really executed.

Following a Toronto timeout, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry took the ball on the sideline and discovered OG Anunoby in the alternative nook. The go, the shot and . . . increase. From Three-Zero to 2-1 in simply Zero.5 seconds.

How did the Raptors pull this off with such a small margin for error? It began with Nurse’s play, which he later admitted he took from an previous Hubie Brown teaching DVD. Let’s take a wider view of the final possession:

Marc Gasol first screens for Fred VanVleet, who’s coming towards the ball. On the identical time, Anunoby clears out, floating alongside the baseline to the far nook. Gasol then screens for Pascal Siakam, who runs into Marcus Sensible on the prime of the important thing.

Lowry informed TNT’s Rebecca Haarlow after the sport the play was designed to provide Siakam or VanVleet the final shot, however the Celtics did an excellent job of zoning up and switching every little thing to stop a straightforward look. To make issues tougher, Boston coach Brad Stevens put Tacko Fall proper in entrance of Lowry.

A youthful participant might have panicked in that scenario, however Lowry patiently surveyed the ground. Jayson Tatum and Theis reduce off the passing lane to VanVleet, Sensible denied Siakam and Jaylen Brown prevented Gasol from rolling on to the rim. 

After which there was Anunoby, standing on their lonesome removed from the motion that had sucked in each defender. Tatum mentioned he did not observe Anunoby as a result of Sensible had handed VanVleet off to him, however Tatum felt he didn’t correctly talk with the following man who was purported to take Anunoby. That minor miscommunication gave Lowry his opening.

Lowry in some way launched an overhead go with an ideal trajectory. It was excessive sufficient to fly previous Fall’s arms, however quick sufficient to hit Anunoby’s arms earlier than Brown might save the day with a James Harden-style block.

“I obtained a 7-12 man on me, however I simply waited and OG, he is been taking pictures lights out the final couple weeks,” Lowry mentioned. “I had confidence in him and we take that win.” (Word: Fall is listed at 7-5, a number of inches shy of 7-12.)

Anunoby took care of the remainder, clearly releasing the ball earlier than time expired and draining the contested Three-pointer. That shot made him eight of 14 from Three-point vary (57.1 %) by means of the primary three video games of the sequence.

“Once I shot it, I anticipated to make it. I do not shoot attempting to overlook,” Anunoby mentioned. “Each shot I shoot, I attempt to make it. I wasn’t going to behave stunned, as a result of I wasn’t stunned.”

Sounds simple while you put it that means.

Whereas the Raptors celebrated the game-winner on the court docket, Lowry and his teammates rapidly turned their consideration to Recreation four. They’re nonetheless down 2-1 to a proficient Celtics squad, in spite of everything.

“One recreation at a time. Nice emotional second proper there, however that is over,” Lowry mentioned. “Now we have now to give attention to the following recreation. That is how we give it some thought.”

Effectively, you may get pleasure from it a little bit longer. That play was fairly cool.

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