3 Raptors takeaways after heartbreaking Game 3 loss to 76ers

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles around Shake Milton #18 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles around Shake Milton #18 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, OG Anunoby
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – FEBRUARY 14: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, as they ruined an excellent night from players like OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. by choking away a double-digit lead at home. A Joel Embiid game-winning dagger was the latest in a series of playoff heartbreakers that are tough to swallow.

The Raptors have been bailing water trying to make sure that they can survive without Scottie Barnes. Unfortunately, when Embiid is good for 30 automatic points per night and stars like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet go silent in the second half, winning becomes much harder.

No NBA team has ever won a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, and Toronto’s performance in their first trio of contests might help some prognosticators be understandably skeptical about their viability in the remainder of this series. Simply put, this was a gut punch.

There are several important takeaways that fans need to absorb after watching Toronto wilt under the pressure. The Raptors just revealed several important truths about this team, though many of those facts are not going to be positive.

1. OG Anunoby is an untradeable star.

The Raptors have made Siakam and VanVleet the stars of the present with Barnes eventually in line to take over as the maypole everything else revolves around. Anunmoby can often seem like an afterthought to this team, but his performance last night showed that he can be an elite player when called upon.

Anunoby recorded 26 points on 8-18 shooting and 4-9 from 3-point range. In a second half where most of Toronto’s stars were petrified of going to the rim and attacking the basket, it was Anunoby who actually managed to step up and hit some really big shots late. No matter what anyone says, he isn’t going anywhere.

OG Anunoby is a cornerstone of the Toronto Raptors.

Leave him out of all of your hypothetical trade packages, he isn’t going anywhere. It takes a special kind of player to make those kinds of shots in those moments, and Anunoby answered the call. If Barnes is supposed to be the star of the future in Toronto, Anunoby might need to be his deputy.

It might be thanks to his game not being the flashiest or his less than exuberant personality, but the Raptors have helped OG become one of the most consistently underrated players in the league. This performance shows that his internal clock does not get sped up in the playoffs.