OG Anunoby only needed 0.5 seconds to seal the win for Toronto, thanks to a timely inbound pass from Kyle Lowry, the Raps prevailed. Brown, who was the last player Anunoby could see running towards him from the corner behind the 3-point line, where he managed to catch-and-shoot, was a step or two too late in executing the Celtics’ crucial defensive stop.
Did you lose him? Brown was asked.
“Yes, he was wide-open, right?” Jaylen asked rhetorically. “Guess it was a miscommunication. He (OG Anonuby) hit a tough shot to win the game. It’s tough, it’s tough. That’s the one we definitely wish we could have back … you move on.”
Celtics-Raptors: The Final Play
ANUNOBY FOR THE WIN WITH .5 SECONDS LEFT 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/M6IdnSv5yd
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 4, 2020
In the game’s final moments, Brown is seen caught in no man’s land between a potential lob to Marc Gasol, who was in the paint with Celtics center Daniel Theis not too far behind but somewhat close enough for comfort. Then, you can see Brown is torn between blitzing Gasol at the rim or closing out on Anunoby at the perimeter and by the time the ball soars its way towards the corner, Brown is already late meeting Anonoby’s follow-through.
“It’s just a miscommunication, that’s really all that happened,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, just have to be better as a unit. Regardless of what (defense) we were in, we had to guard the 3-point line so that was just a f****** disgrace at the end of the game — that was just terrible. No way we should have lost that game. I take responsibility for that, not just that play but a lot of the plays before it.
“It happens, it’s the NBA playoffs. Either you let them gain momentum or you come back ready to play next game.”
Brad Stevens’ Explanation
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who admits his team made a lapse in judgment defensively in the final moments of the game, however, looks at the experience as a learning opportunity for him and his team.
Stevens was asked what he had to say to his team after such a gut-wrenching loss.
“They’re a really good team that we’re playing against,” Stevens said. “They’re tough, smart, they put you on your heels, you know, but I thought our guys really competed, really fought. I thought that both teams left it all out there tonight. And a great game, it hurts and stings to lose but we’ll just get back to it and get ready for Saturday.”
While some may criticize Stevens for going into a zone defense for the final possession of the game, the Celtics head coach defended his decision by stating it’s been a pattern of his in the past in similar situations. He also added, with Game 4 less than 48 hours away, it’s probably best his team moves on from Thursday’s final play.
“We’ve played a zone (defense) a lot in that circumstance,” Stevens said. “They contorted it with their alignment well and when we matched up we just didn’t get to the shot. Credit them and credit the ability to make that shot under a little bit of duress with 0.5 and Lowry’s ability to deliver that pass over Tacko from that distance is not an easy thing to do. No question, we could have guarded a little better but that’s something that we’ll get better at and just move on.”