OG!!!— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) September 4, 2020
The Toronto Raptors are back in the series. Down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics heading into Game 3, they were trailing by two with 0.5 seconds remaining, and appeared to be on their way to another defeat. That's when OG Anunoby stepped up and drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Raptors a 104-103 win.
Anunoby was the hero for the Raptors, and finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a very solid game overall. But Kyle Lowry was the one who kept them in it all night long, finishing with 31 points, six rebounds and eight assists, including the in-bounds pass on the game-winner over the outstretched arms of Tacko Fall.
Kemba Walker led the way for the Celtics, going for 29 points, three rebounds and three assists, and made what would have been the play of the game in the closing seconds, finding Daniel Theis for a go-ahead dunk with 0.5 seconds left. Unfortunately for Boston, that turned out not to be a game-winner.
Anunoby plays hero
OG Anunoby isn't one of the Raptors' stars, but he is a hero after his game-winning 3-pointer in Game 3. With just 0.5 seconds left, the Raptors were down two, and needed something close to a miracle to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. Anunoby delivered with the biggest shot of his young career.
Spotting up in the corner, he took the lobbed pass from Kyle Lowry and, thanks to some lackadaisical defense from Jaylen Brown, was able to get off a lightning quick release to beat the buzzer by a split second. The shot hung in the air and nestled into the net, changing the entire trajectory of this series.
The third-year wing didn't even get to play in the Raptors' title run last season due to an unfortunately timed appendectomy, but he's taking advantage of his opportunity this season. He's been arguably the Raptors' most consistent player in this series, putting up 14.7 points and eight rebounds per game, while shooting 57.1 percent from downtown.
Raptors stay alive
Once they went down 2-0 in this series, the Raptors put themselves in a really tough spot. Only seven squads have come back from that sort of deficit in the last decade, and while they were actually one of them, battling back to beat the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals last season, you can't bank on that sort of turnaround again.
But while 2-0 is a challenge, the Raptors might as well have packed up and left the bubble if they lost on Thursday night. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit since postseason series shifted to seven games. And so, in essence, their season was on the line in Game 3.
They still have a lot of work to do, and will need to win three of the next four games to take the series, but that's a lot easier to manage than trying to win four straight.
Kemba's big night goes to waste
Kemba Walker's first trip to the playoffs since back in 2016 with the Hornets has gone even better than he could have expected. His troublesome knee is feeling good, his Celtics were undefeated until this Game 3 loss, and he's been playing some terrific basketball.
That trend continued for much of Thursday night, as Walker picked his spots and did pretty much whatever he wanted against the Raptors' defense. He went for 29 points on 9 of 15 from the field, dished out three assists and made a number of smart plays out of the trap that didn't result in stats for himself, but got the Celtics easy buckets.
In the closing seconds, with the game tied and the Celtics looking for a go-ahead basket, it looked like he had tried to do a little too much. But then, as he got into the lane, he dropped off a beautiful dime to Daniel Theis for a huge slam. On most nights, it would have been celebrated as the game-winning play, and Walker would have another clutch moment added to his resume.
Instead, Anunoby stole his headlines, and Walker's big night was all for nought.