OG Anunoby buried a 3-pointer as time expired, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Boston Celtics 104-103 on Thursday (US time), and win for the first time in their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Kyle Lowry, who made the game-winning assist to Anunoby off an inbounds play, led the defending champions with 31 points and 8 assists.
“I had confidence in him,” Lowry said of Anunoby. “We'll take that win.”
The Celtics, who entered Game 3 undefeated in their first 6 games of these playoffs, still lead their series 2-1.
"We scrapped and clawed and fought," added Lowry, who played all but 2 minutes the entire game. "We never quit."
It seemed like Toronto was on its way to a loss after Daniel Theis' dunk off a Kemba Walker pass with 5-tenths of a second left in the game put the Celtics up 103-101.
In the final play, Lowry needed to lob his cross-court pass to Anunoby high enough to get it over the outstretched arms of 7-foot-7 center Tacko Fall.
Anunoby caught the ball and casually nailed the triple as Jaylen Brown came rushing to challenge the shot and the clock ran out.
RAPTORS BACKCOURT STEP UP
Fred VanVleet added 25 points and 5 3-pointers, as he and Lowry had their best game together for the first time in this series.
In the first 2 games, Lowry shot 1 of 12 from the 3-point area, including 0 for 7 in Game 2, while VanVleet was 5 of 23. In Game 3, they were much improved at a combined 7-of-21 clip from behind the arc.
Walker finished with 29 points, and Brown added 19 points and 12 rebounds for Boston.
Jayson Tatum, who was brilliant in the first 2 games, struggled in Game 3 with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor.
"One game at a time," Lowry said of the Raptors' mindset as they look to level the series in the NBA's COVID-19 quarantine bubble in Orlando, Fla.
"Great emotional moment right there (but) that's over. Now we have to focus on the next game.
The Raptors were up 95-91, when the Celtics went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 99-95 on a Brown dunk.
But baskets by Lowry and VanVleet enabled Toronto to tie the game at 101, setting up the Theis score that gave Boston the 2-point lead.