But what would they do with their booty?
Double down and transfer the pressure entirely to the Celtics? Or waste and end with a steady diet of elimination games, down 3-1?
The Raptors took to Wall Street as they invested their luck gained from the unlikely game winner OG Anunoby in a Game 4 victory.
Unlike Game 1 where the Raptors were never in the stretch, Game 2 when they escaped Game or Game 3 when they had to rely on Kyle Lowry threading the needle to Anunoby for his three wins. 0.5 seconds left, in Game 4, the Raptors were surgical to the end of their 100-93 win as they tied the series 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Monday.
Lowry wouldn’t have done it any other way. He started the game with a bang and ended it with a scalpel on the stretch as he knocked down a key three, forcing a pair of turnovers – including a crucial one with 30 seconds left as the Raptors led by five – and helped a couple. more key hoops. He finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while saving his 47 minutes in Game 3 with 44 minutes in Game 4, again playing the entire second half without a break.
Lowry was not alone. Fred VanVleet was 5 of 10 of three for 17 points to go with six rebounds and six assists on a night the Raptors as a group found a deep rhythm. Pascal Siakam contributed 23 points while Serge Ibaka offered 18 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench as Toronto held Boston 7 of 35 deep while shooting 17 of 44 themselves, the difference in the game.
The Raptors took an 81-73 lead in the fourth quarter that seemed as smooth as any playoff. Siakam took advantage of Jaylen Brown in the paint, VanVleet found his three-point shot and Lowry orchestrated with four assists including three back-to-back triplets – two by VanVleet and one by Ibaka – which helped Toronto gain some breathing space, this which was difficult to come. par for the Raptors.
The big question in Saturday night’s game was how the Raptors would follow their unlikely victory in Game 3.
“I guess we’ll find out a bit,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said before the game. “We hit a big blow to beat Philly in Game 7 last year and had to get on a plane the next day and go to Milwaukee. I was really, really worried that we were going to be really flat in the first game. And we didn’t, we played amazing in the first game. We were really, really, really – at least two really – unlucky not to win that first game. in Milwaukee [Raptors lost 108-100]. I mean, we really outperformed them. So we came out of this jubilation and this really memorable series. So I hope we can do the same.
“But I think more importantly we are playing better. I mean, I still think we, you know, when we come out of a game and say ‘man we played good’ you go up and down the line and everybody contributes and everybody plays at least in the line. average if not above average or really good or whatever and we just haven’t had a ton of that yet where we walked out of a game and said ‘he was good he was good he was okay, ‘you know, all the way down the line but we’ you get there, hopefully. (We) feel like we’re getting there and I hope we play better.
Lowry was ready to respond. One of the downsides against this edition of the Raptors is that they don’t have the singular superstar to respond like a Jayson Tatum with Boston or even maybe Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat – the Celtics’ winner’s likely opponent. raptors.
It was Kawhi Leonard’s job.
Well, Lowry would like to have a word. There is an argument that Lowry’s masterpiece of 31 points and eight assists in Game 3 was the best performance of his 93-game playoff career and he came out with the intention of following it. .
In his first 10+ minutes of Game 4, Lowry continued to attack – he had a career-high 20 points in the paint in Game 3 – and scored 11 points to lead all scorers and arrived. at the line for six attempts. That, combined with the cover of the baskets behind the line, helped Toronto get off to a good start – the Raptors were 6 of 13 to start the game after shooting 28.3% in the first three games.
No one was shooting better than Ibaka, who put the Raptors 31-27 at the end of the first quarter with his first triple. He pushed the lead to seven with his three seconds to start the second quarter on his way to 11 points and five rebounds in nine minutes of the first half.
The series trends continued to follow the Raptors from the start. After an early explosion from the depths, Toronto was just 3 of 13 in the second quarter with Siakam as the worst offender; the Raptors’ top scorer of the regular season was 1 of 8 in depth for the half. Likewise, Norman Powell failed to take advantage of the glimmers he showed in the second half of Game 3. His only contribution was a trio of free throws from the moment he suffered a foul on a three, otherwise the source of so many bench points in the regular. the season was imperceptible in 11 minutes of the first half. With no one but Ibaka helping Lowry, the Raptors were fortunate enough to be tied with Boston 49-49 at halftime.
They don’t stand a chance of being tied in the series, however. They won it in Game 4.