The Toronto Raptors were a half-second away from falling into the abyss that no NBA team has ever escaped. Down by two points, down by two games, the reigning champions needed a miracle.
OG Anunoby delivered.
Anunoby caught a cross-court pass that Kyle Lowry threaded over everybody else on the floor and hit a 3-pointer as time expired, giving the Raptors a 104-103 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night.
The Celtics still lead the series 2-1. But it’s not 3-0 — and that means the Raptors still have realistic hope. The Raptors mobbed Anunoby after the shot, reveling in the moment.
The Celtics took a two-point lead when Kemba Walker found Daniel Theis for a dunk with a half-second left.
No team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 series deficit. The Raptors won’t have to try it now; Lowry elected to audible and throw the long pass — threading it over Boston’s 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall, who was put in specifically to disrupt the inbounds play — to Anunoby.
Lowry played virtually the whole way, finishing with 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 25 points, Pascal Siakam had 16, and Anunoby 12.
Walker scored 29 points for Boston. The Celtics lost for the first time in seven playoff games.
Game 4 is Saturday.
CLIPPERS 120, NUGGETS 97
Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points and Los Angeles rolled past Denver in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Paul George scored 19 points and Marcus Morris added 18. The Clippers shot 57% from the field.
Nikola Jokic scored 15 points for the Nuggets, who were coming off a seven-game series with Utah that just ended Tuesday. Jamal Murray, who averaged 31.6 points in the first round and scored at least 50 points twice in that series, finished with just 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Denver shot just 42%.
The Clippers took charge in the second quarter, outscoring the Nuggets 38-20 to take a 69-51 lead at halftime. Los Angeles held Denver to 25% shooting into the second quarter.
The Clippers continued to dominate in the third quarter, holding the Nuggets to 16 points in the period and taking a 91-67 lead into the fourth. Los Angeles’ biggest lead in the quarter was 29 points.
The Associated Press
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