Needing a spark to get back into the series, the Toronto Raptors should be looking to get more out of OG Anunoby against the Boston Celtics.
Heading into Game 3 against the Boston Celtics, much has been said about what the Toronto Raptors need to get back in the series.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have received a lot of attention for the wrong reasons in this series but one of the forgotten stories from the Raptors’ Game 2 loss was the play of OG Anunoby. The 23-year-old finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds and was 4-of-6 from three-point range.
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The Celtics had a tough time defending Anunoby from beyond the arc as he would either get some separation or use the dribble to affect their timing. Seeing him looking calm and confident shooting makes you wonder why he wasn’t being used later in the game especially when the offence was struggling to get a lot going.
Anunoby has been asked to take on the tough defensive assignments against every team’s elite player but it would be a shame if the Raptors don’t try to get him more involved offensively. Since Pascal Siakam has been struggling to find his game, maybe it’s time that he was not the focal point.
Apparently this is something the Raptors coaching staff have been trying to do according to Katie Heindl of Complex.
"“His balance at the end, his finishes. It’s nothing specific,” Nick Nurse told reporters. “We tell him to make the right play. If it comes to him and you’re open, shoot it. If the close out is where you want to attack, attack it, but just do it quickly, do it well. We want him to be able to do many things well.”"
If he had not been injured last season, you can bet Anunoby would be farther along in his development. His versatility has made him an important contributor for the Raptors at both ends of the court but one that doesn’t get exploited nearly as much.
Maybe that changes if he continues to shoot with the hot hand considering that’s what led the Celtics to their comeback win in Game 2. Sometimes your best players get off to tough starts but when it matters, you can trust the ball to be in their hands.
This should mean a bigger role for Anunoby in Game 3 or at least make Boston realize they need to respect him a bit more which could open up more for others.
Do you think Anunoby can have more of an impact in this series? What will be the key to success in Game 3? Let us know in the comments below.