About last night: Raptors need double OT to fight off extinction

A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg

About last night: Raptors need double OT to fight off extinction originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

Forsberg: Fighting off extinction 

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The Raptors played Sunday night with the sort of fight that the Celtics flabbergastingly lacked over the final games of the Bucks series.

Even though they couldn't get out of their own way most of the night, the Raptors weren't letting Game 3 get away. Going down 3-0 would have been a death sentence and, despite their missteps, Toronto instead breathed some life back into this series. 

Kyle Lowry seemingly fouled out at halftime, Norman Powell did the same before the end of regulation, forcing Toronto to ride a Fred VanVleet/Danny Green backcourt to the finish line. The game was there for the taking for the Bucks, but Khris Middleton had some head-scratching moments and the Raptors started swarming Giannis Antetokounmpo with urgency every time he touched the ball late in the game (and then got him to foul out in the second overtime).

Ultimately, it was Kawhi Leonard who wrestled away the win. He missed a chance at another buzzer-beater but still came up with all the big plays, forcing key turnovers and striking in transition throughout overtime. It wasn't always pretty, but the Raptors found a way to grind out the win. 

There were an awful lot of "Game of Thrones" fans flipping over late because Raptors-Bucks was the best drama of the night. Unlike GoT, this series may have more episodes remaining than we thought.

Blakely: Raptors avoid (near) extinction 

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While Toronto certainly can breathe a sigh of relief after escaping Game 3 with a double overtime win, by no means have they done anything to radically alter the calculus of this series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 12 points - only the fifth time all season he scored less than 15 points - and while at home, Toronto needs a pair of overtime sessions before getting the victory.

It wasn't so much as the Raptors found some hidden recipe for success, as much as it was them making a play or two more than the Bucks, who came into the game playing with house money. 

Game 4 will be the ultimate test as to whether Game 3 was just a one-game fluke or whether the Raptors really are back in this series. 

SO... THAT HAPPENED


NUMBER OF NOTE

24/20 - The point totals from the Bucks' top two scorers in Game 3 Sunday (George Hill and Malcolm Brogdon, respectively). It's the first time a team's top two scorers in a conference finals game were both bench players since Detroit's Mark Aguirre and Vinnie Johnson did so against the Bulls exactly 28 years earlier, on May 19, 1991.

THEY SAID IT

"Hell no. I am Giannis. What I have done in my life so far -- sending money to my family, put my brothers in private schools, taking care of family in Nigeria and Greece. Disappointed in a game? I'd be disappointed in myself if I was disappointed."

- Giannis Antetokounmpo, when asked if he was disappointed in how he played in the Bucks' Game 3 loss (12 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, 8 turnovers)

SUNDAY'S SCOREBOARD

  • Raptors 118, Bucks 112 (2 OT) - MIL leads series 2-1

WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING

Forsberg: Showtime! 

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Move over, Terry Rozier, because Magic Johnson is scheduled to be on ESPN's First Take on Monday. For Celtics fans in need of a pick-me-up after a dismal season, watching Magic explain all that went wrong in L.A. this year could be a much-needed dose of schadenfreude. Plus, if Magic's appearance is half as good as his tweets, we're all in for a real treat.

It should be more entertaining than watching if the Warriors want to put a quick end to the Blazers. 

Blakely: Get your brooms out, Warriors fans 

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What we are witnessing now between Golden State and Portland, is what happens when a good team finds itself eye-to-eye with a great champion. 

More times than not, the champ will find a way to come out on top, which is exactly what we've seen through the first three games - all Golden State wins, despite trailing by double digits in the last two. 

Portland can take the stance that they could potentially be up 2-1 in this series, but that doesn't give due credit to Golden State's dynasty DNA which allows them to take one big shot after big shot for a while, only to slowly work their way back into the game and eventually take over. 

That's why they have been as good or better without Kevin Durant (calf), because this team was a champion before he decided to join the party. 

And partying they will be doing soon, because the Blazers have given their best shot in the last two games only to come up short, which is what tends to happen when you're a good team and you're trying to dethrone one of the greatest NBA champions ever. 

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

  • Warriors at Trail Blazers, Game 4 (GS leads series 3-0) - 9:00pm, ESPN

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