Good afternoon, folks. We are not worthy of OG Anunoby. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
Anunoby saves Toronto’s season at the buzzer
The Toronto Raptors were 0.5 seconds away from going down 0-3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, a deficit that no NBA team has ever overcome in the league’s 70-plus year history.
But OG Anunoby wasn’t having it.
Let’s set the scene real quick…
With the Raptors trailing by two and under 25 seconds remaining in regulation, Toronto guard Fred VanVleet drove past Celtics center Daniel Theis for a slick reverse layup that spun off the backboard and into the basket, tying the game up at 101. Instead of calling a timeout, the Celtics, with the ball in Kemba Walker’s hands, elected to go for the win right then and there. Walker dribbled the clock down to about six seconds left, escaped a double-team, and dished a beautiful no-look pass to Theis on the baseline for the easiest two points of the night. A defensive breakdown by Pascal Siakam, who was focusing on the perimeter as opposed to a sneaking Theis, led to the basket with only 0.5 seconds left in the game and a 103-101 Boston advantage. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I thought the game was over…
But as we stated before, Anunoby wasn’t having it.
Celtics head coach and apparent basketball genius, Brad Stevens, brought in 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall to guard the inbound pass from Kyle Lowry, who is an even 6-feet tall. 0.5 seconds isn’t a ton of time to get a shot off–it’s pretty much a catch-and-shoot scenario from the second it touches anyone’s hand. Lowry lobbed one of the ballsiest passes you’ll ever see, slinging it across to the other end of the court and over the outstretched arms of Fall to a wide-open Anunoby.
The former Indiana Hoosier caught it in the corner, immediately fired up a shot, and was mobbed by his teammates after the buzzer sounded.
OG AT THE BUZZER! ? pic.twitter.com/44YbQ6E4Lk
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 4, 2020
But the shot wasn’t even the best part of Anunoby’s night. It was his postgame interview that put on display just how much of a badass Anunoby actually is.
when asked how he stayed so cool after hitting the game-winning buzzer-beater, OG Anunoby says “…I don’t shoot trying to miss…”
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 4, 2020
The Nuggets are gassed–already
Well, I was afraid this might happen…
Once I saw the reaction from Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray regarding his team’s quick turnaround from a draining Game 7 win over the Utah Jazz to a Game 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, I had a sense that he–and his team–might be in some trouble.
“We play Thursday? We don’t get two days off?
“Man, well that’s a bummer.”
Murray could hardly stand up on his own two feet just while doing the interview; that was Tuesday night. The Clippers, coming off a 4-2 series win over the Dallas Mavericks in round one, hadn’t played since Sunday. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, they won’t get two days off until they either win the series or are sent back to Colorado. From the early stages of Tuesday night’s game, Denver’s energy levels were already tapped out.
”I think that definitely played a part,” Denver coach Michael Malone said about his team’s lack of rest. ”Their [the Clippers] last game was Sunday. We had our last game on Tuesday night and didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight. … We were tired. Tomorrow we will get them as much as rest as we can and have a more energetic performance Saturday night.”
Kawhi Leonard sat out the entire fourth quarter for the Clips while Paul George was pulled midway through the period. L.A. was riding a comfortable lead of 20-plus points throughout the second-half as they shot over 57 percent from the field for the game and over 41 percent from 3. While Denver did manage to keep things tight after the first 12 minutes, as the second quarter started with both teams tied at 31, the route was quickly on after that. The Clippers outscored Denver 38-20 in the second quarter before holding them to just 16 points in the third.
Murray, who played the best basketball of his career in the series against Utah, couldn’t find his mark as Leonard was his primary defender throughout the evening. The Clippers putting Leonard on Murray allowed them to switch everything whenever Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic tried to execute a pick-and-roll. The tactic proved successful, as Murray only recorded 12 points on 5-15 shooting after averaging over 31 points per game in round one. Jokic added just 15 points for Denver, who shot 42 percent from the field as a squad.
Hopefully Game 2 sees a revitalized Nuggets team.
Series standings from Thursday
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
(3) Celtics lead (2) Raptors 2-1
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
(2) Clippers lead (3) Nuggets 1-0
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||97-120 L @ LAC||12||5-15 (2-8)||3||6||1||0||2||-18||33|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||103-104 L vs. TOR||4||2-2 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||-4||4|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||120-97 W vs. DEN||0||0-0||0||2||0||0||0||-2||4|
TONIGHT IN THE BUBBLE
6:30 (TNT): (1) Bucks (Bledsoe) @ (5) Heat (Adebayo, Herro) [MIA leads 2-0]
9:00 (ESPN): (4) Rockets @ (1) Lakers (Davis, Rondo: questionable) [Game 1]