Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors were less than a second away from falling into a historically insurmountable 3-0 hole to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, but then OG Anunoby sunk a game-winning 3-pointer that won’t be forgotten in Toronto any time soon. With 0.5 seconds remaining on the game clock and the Raptors trailing 103-101, Kyle Lowry skipped a beautiful inbound pass across the court (and over the 7’5″” Tacko Fall) to Anunoby, who found himself wide open in the far corner. With barely enough time to allow the ball to touch his palms, Anunoby controlled the pass and in one motion launched the jumper that would win the game for Toronto. 

The shot is certainly worth a second look, and you can see it below, via the NBA: 

The shot was the definition of clutch. It was also the biggest shot of Anunoby’s life, and one of the most memorable shots in Raptors history — even though it falls behind Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce game-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Sixers last season. There were some obvious similarities between the two shots though — mainly the fact that they both occurred in the second round, in the corner, and with no time remaining on the clock. Also, both times Pascal Siakam started near the block and made his way toward the 3-point line to serve as an outlet option. (Why Boston’s defense allowed such an open look for a player with a track record of hitting such shots is another issue entirely). 

Despite the magnitude of the shot, Anunoby didn’t let his emotions get the best of him. Instead of jumping for joy, Anunoby reacted as he would with any other routine make. He slowly walked away from the corner with his arms down and no smile on his face.  It was a reaction that was very reminiscent of Leonard, who is well-known for his robotic approach to the game, even in big moments.  Anunoby’s Toronto teammates were much more openly excited than he was.   

After the game when Anunoby was asked about his reaction, or lack thereof, he offered a response that could easily be mistaken for a quote from Leonard if you just close your eyes. 

“I expected to make it,” Anunoby said. “I don’t shoot trying to miss. Every shot I shoot I try to make it. So, I wasn’t going to act surprised, because I wasn’t surprised.”  

They were only teammates together in Toronto for a single season, but it certainly seems like Anunoby picked up some tricks of the trade from Leonard, both on and off the court. 


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