Eastern Conference Semifinal—In the first two games of this series, three point shooting has been the one of the main storylines. While Boston was able to go 32-77 (42%), Toronto shot 21-80 (26%). Game 3 seemed to be in Boston’s hands, as well. With a 2 point lead and only .5 on the clock, a 3-0 series lead seemed inevitable. Thanks to an OG Anunoby three point shot at the buzzer, Toronto was able to steal Game 3.
In order for the Toronto Raptors to do anything in this series, they were going to have to slow down Boston’s three point shooting and improve upon their own. On Saturday night, they did just that. Coming into Game 4, Toronto was shooting 34-120, a paltry 28% from behind the arc. Saturday night, the Raptors went 17-44. That’s a much improved 39%. At the same time, Toronto was able to hold Boston to 7-35 shooting from behind the arc. This gave Toronto a +30 advantage.
Offensively, the Raptors looked much improved. There was better ball movement, more individual movement, and better shot selection. Couple that with a smothering, more energetic defensive effort, the Raptors were able to level the series with a 100-93 victory.
If all of this sounds familiar, it should. Toronto was in this position last year against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Down 2-0, they were able to rattle off four straight victories on their way to the NBA title.
Without home court advantage, anything is possible in this year‘s playoffs. Boston will need to shore up its perimeter defense and make sure that Toronto’s three point attempts are much more contested then they were in Game 4. If Toronto is able to continue its stifling defense against the Celtics and not allow the Celtics to score big from behind the arc, we just might see another Raptor series comeback. Stay tuned…things are about to get interesting.