Game 6 vs. The Celtics 2020 (double OT to stave off elimination)
This game feels like just yesterday.
The NBA Playoff Bubble was so weird for so many reasons we don’t have time to list them all. But for the Raptors specifically, it was a particular struggle. Pascal Siakam had just returned from a pretty serious injury, Marc Gasol started showing his age, OG Anunoby wasn’t ready to be a creator yet, and the boys hadn’t seen home in eight months.
Still, the Raptors strolled past the Nets in a gentleman’s sweep, and were now going up against the Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown/Kemba Walker Boston Celtics.
Boston was really the superior team here. They had the pedigree of more all-stars, a younger, healthier roster, and overall just more talent. It’s true. That said, the Raptors gave them everything they could handle.
Clawing back from 2-0 down, OG Anunoby had that famous 0.5-second buzzer-beater to win game three, then in Game 4, the team came out with a stellar defensive performance, holding the Celtics to only 93 points. Boston rallied back in Game 5 though, and the Raptors were now facing elimination.
The biggest cause of this was Boston solving Toronto’s zone defence. Finding the man in the dunker spot with lobs and back-door cuts. Gasol looked old, Siakam looked like a 4-F designation, and VanVleet went cold.
Kyle Lowry had to carry the Toronto Raptors.
In the early part of his prime, Lowry had developed a reputation of disappearing in the playoffs. Granted, he had shaken that monkey off his back during the 2019 title run, but there was still a sense that he had gotten lucky; an idea that he needed Kawhi Leonard to save his legacy.
This game changed that.
Lowry played the most complete basketball game of his life. Shooting, driving, passing, steals, taking charges. He lead the entire team through a grueling double-overtime slugfest, and with the game on the line, he backed down Walker and hit a game-winning jumper.
The Raptors ended up losing this series in seven, but it doesn’t matter. It was the last, and maybe best “hurrah” for Lowry in Raptors colours. Despite having less firepower than our opponents, the Raptors did what they always do, they fought the good fight.