(CNN)Defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors delivered the most exciting finish of this year’s Playoffs thus far in the team’s second-round game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
A sublime piece of individual skill from Boston’s Kemba Walker — which included a blind bounce-pass assist to Daniel Theis — put the Celtics ahead 103-101 with 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock.The Celtics were celebrating the bucket as if they had won. They almost certainly had. Almost.
With 7’5″ rookie Tacko Fall waving his arms in front of Kyle Lowry, the six-time All-Star looped a high inbounded pass across court to the open OG Anunoby, who got the three-point shot off with 0.2 seconds remaining.The ball fell through the net to the rapturous celebrations of the Raptors.
OG Anunoby had just 0.5 seconds to catch the ball and get his shot off to secure the game-winning three-point shot for the Toronto Raptors.Read MoreThe Celtics have been rampant so far in the Playoffs, not dropping a single game in a 4-0 shutout of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, before taking a 2-0 over the reigning champion Raptors.After the game, Lowry said: “I was just waiting. Just waiting for the right moment and I seen Jaylen Brown step up a little bit on Marc [Gasol], and I just had to make a precise pass to a heck of a shooter in OG.””The pass was nothing,” he continued. “OG made the shot. All the credit goes to the shot, man. That’s a tough shot. Give OG that credit. The pass was just to get it to a guy like OG. It’s OG’s moment, man. That’s a great moment for that kid.”
The Boston Celtics believed they had sealed the win after taking the lead with 0.5 seconds left. But the Raptors’ clutch play won the day.No team in NBA history has overcome a 3-0 Playoff deficit, so this win was crucial to the Raptors’ hopes of defending their title.It truly was a team effort from the Raptors. Lowry may have topped the scoring with 31 points, but each one of their starters recorded at least 10 points.The Celtics’ loss leaves the fith-seed Miami Heat as the only undefeated team left in the Playoffs. The Heat hold a 2-0 lead over the number one seed Milwaukee Bucks.
Nash to the Nets
Elsewhere in the NBA, having lost 4-0 to the Raptors in the first-round of the Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets have made a new signing.Last summer saw them acquire perennial All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.This time however, it is a new coach.Two-time MVP Steve Nash will take on the first head coach role of his career as he takes over in Brooklyn.He’ll be stepping in for interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who is being retained as an assistant head coach.Since retiring, Nash has worked with the Golden State Warriors as a player development consultant.”I am honored to have this opportunity with such a first-class organization and would like to thank Sean, Joe and his wife, Clara, for having faith in my ability to lead this team forward,” said Nash in a press release from the team.
New Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.”Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn. I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community,” Nash said.”After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” said General Manager Sean Marks. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players.
“I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. “His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league. We are excited to welcome Steve, Lilla, Lola, Bella, Matteo, Luca and Ruby to Brooklyn.”