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What you might have missed by keying only on the spectacular play, were the subtly crucial other things Anunoby did to help the Raptors save their season:
Most notably, Anunoby tracked down an offensive rebound after a Fred VanVleet miss with 30 seconds remaining and Toronto down by three points. If he doesn’t come up with that Boston either puts the game out of reach with another basket, gets free throws to stretch the lead, or, best case, Toronto gets a stop and still needs a clutch basket. Instead, Anunoby gave VanVleet a second chance and it resulted in a layup to tie the game. Anunoby also did that earlier in the game to get Siakam a much-needed chance to get going. Plus there was his outstanding defence, particularly the way he switched with Siakam to lock down Boston’s great offensive players. Jayson Tatum’s shot 33% when primarily guarded by Anunoby in this series. Kemba Walker is 0-for-2 and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are both 3-for-7 against him. Only Boston’s big men have shot a high percentage about him.
As bad as 2020 has been for the world, Anunoby likely had a far worse 2019. From family tragedy, to ridiculously poor luck on the injury front, to a burst appendix that kept him out for the entire playoffs, it was a tragic year. Which is why Anunoby said last week that he’s really appreciating everything that’s happening now on the court.
“It’s definitely fun being out there this year, being able to play. Just being out last year just taught me to not take it for granted, being healthy,” he told Postmedia. “So I’m just enjoying it as much as I can and contributing to winning.”