In last night’s playoff action, we saw a pivotal game 3 between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors (Boston leads the series 2-1) and the first game between the Clippers and Nuggets after the Nuggets concluded their first round matchup with the Jazz. With that being said, let’s get right into the breakdowns.
Celtics vs Raptors
In a game that came down to the final half-second, the Toronto Raptors narrowly beat the Boston Celtics thanks to a game winning shot from forward O.G. Anunoby after Kyle Lowry made a perfect in-bounds pass over the Celtics’s 7’6” center, Tacko Fall. Some of the blame goes on Jaylen Brown, as he placed blame on himself during his postgame presser, but one can also place the blame on head coach Brad Stevens.
Stevens is an exceptional coach but he made a terrible decision playing zone on the final possession. He was more concerned about the threat Marc Gasol would’ve been in the interior that he had to let one shooter be less covered. That shooter happened to be Anunoby, who hit the game winner. Had he made them play man-to-man, the likelihood of them getting a game winning shot is extremely unlikely, and even if Gasol made the layup, the game would’ve gone to overtime.
For the majority of the game, however, this was a tremendous battle of the guards. Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry were exchanging buckets possession after possession.
For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry had 31 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds on 13/23 shooting from the field. He hit multiple timely shots and made the game-winning pass, as mentioned earlier. Kemba Walker was sensational for Boston as well. Walker had 29 points on 9/15 shooting including a sensational pass to Daniel Theis to give Boston the lead with 0.5 seconds left. That pass seemed to be the game-sealer until the buzzer beater from the Raptors.
Jayson Tatum was horrible offensively. He had 15 points on an extremely inefficient 5/18 shooting from the field. If he had even a slightly average performance, Boston wins this game. He needs to step up.
Clippers vs Nuggets
There isn’t much to really say about this game. We all expected something like this to happen. The Clippers won in blowout fashion and they’re simply the much better team.
Kawhi Leonard was absolutely sensational scoring 29 points on 12/16 shooting while load managing (sitting out) the entire fourth quarter. He so far has been the best performing player of these playoffs, just like he was last season. He also got support from Paul George and Marcus Morris, who combined for 37 on efficient shooting.
For Denver, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic were extremely underwhelming, scoring only a combined 27 points on an extremely inefficient 11/29 combined shooting from the field. All in all, I didn’t see anything in this game that stood out to me. The Clippers will have a fairly easy time getting past the Nuggets, and this series will go to five games max in my opinion.