The Boston Celtics had a prime chance to take a 3-0 lead against the defending champion Toronto Raptors in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series Thursday night in Orlando.
After Kemba Walker hit Daniel Theis for a dunk with 0.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Boston held a 103-101 lead. Even with Toronto being able to advance the ball to half court, it seemed unreasonable to believe the team could get off a decent shot for either the tie or win.
That’s when the improbable happened. Inbounding over the 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall, Kyle Lowry somehow threw a perfect pass to OG Anunoby at the left baseline. What followed was among the most-shocking developments in recent NBA Playoff history.
Talk about a season-saving shot from the underrated Anunoby. Everything had to work out perfect in order for that to come to fruition.
Following the game, Celtics star Jaylen Brown sounded off in a big way.
“We just needed one stop to win the [expletive] game and we ended up losing,” Brown said, via Boston.com. “Just me being four years in, I got to be better. Can’t give up a three at the end of the game. They made a remarkable shot, still. But it’s a [expletive] disgrace. It’s terrible. There’s no excuse for it at all. It was ridiculous.”
To be fair, Brown did contest the shot. Anunoby simply made the play of his career. Both can be true. Though, this does dramatically alter the landscape of the series and the NBA Playoffs as a whole.
Celtics were Eastern Conference favorites ahead of Game 3
According to oddsmakers, Boston was the overwhelming favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference before Game 3 on Thursday. The belief in Vegas was that these Celtics would take on the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
While that could still very much be true, a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven series is nowhere near a 3-0 lead. This one shot brought Toronto to the verge of evening up the series. Game 4 from Walt Disney World tips off Saturday. Let’s see how Brown and Co. respond.