Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
In the immediate aftermath of OG Anunoby’s stunning three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors a 104-103 win on Thursday, Fred VanVleet believes the Boston Celtics opened a window for the defending NBA champions.
Per The Athletic’s Sam Amick, VanVleet was heard telling Raptors officials that Boston “f–ed up” by letting Toronto back in the series.
The Celtics were on the verge of going up 3-0 in the series after Kemba Walker found Daniel Theis under the basket for an easy dunk to take a 103-101 lead with 0.5 seconds remaining.
After a Toronto timeout, Anunoby caught a perfect inbounds pass over Tacko Fall from Kyle Lowry and sank a three-pointer all in one motion to beat the buzzer.
Boston looked to be in complete control of the series leading up to that moment. The Raptors got blown out 112-94 in Game 1 and were outscored by 11 in the fourth quarter of a 102-99 loss in Game 2.
Toronto trailed the Milwaukee Bucks 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals last season before a dramatic 118-112 double-overtime win in Game 3. That propelled the team to four straight victories and a trip to the NBA Finals.
The Raptors still have work to do if they want to get past the Celtics in this series, but they somehow found an opening in Game 3 to give them hope moving forward.