Title: Raptor Recalibration, Game 3: Kemba Walker is a Raptor Killer, series odds, more
Date: September 4, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, my playoff day-after playoff column broke down the Raptors coming back from the brink against the Celtics to make the series 2-1.
Back from the brink.
At the end of an arduous 47 minutes and 59.5 seconds, it looked like the Toronto Raptors were about to go down 3-0 to the Boston Celtics. They’d played their hearts out for two games in a row, and it looked for naught, with a pair of single-possession losses following a disappointing Game 1 blowout. Teams simply do not come back from three-game holes in the NBA playoffs. And while the Raptors have done a lot of rare things the past couple of years, digging out of an 0-3 hole would be too big of an ask even for them.
You fight until you hear the bell for a reason. The Raptors used that last half-second to steal Game 3 on an OG Anunoby buzzer-beater, winning 104-103 to make the series 2-1 and keep their hopes of a repeat trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, or beyond, alive.
Per Jacob Goldstein‘s model, the Raptors are back up to a 39-percent chance to win the series after opening at 62 percent and dipping as low as 25 percent. The series price is +175 up from +425 after Game 2 and +400 before tip-off, good for an implied probability of 36 percent. As we noted after Game 2, anything greater than zero is worth playing out, and now the series is back closer to a weighted coin-flip territory.
Given how the past two games have gone, it’s going to be the little things – and shooting variance, naturally – that determine how it all plays out.
As established by now, the morning after each playoff game, we’ll reconvene here to try to sort through all of it. We’ll look at key plays, key statistical trends, the major between-games adjustments, coaching decisions and whatever else strikes me as noteworthy.