Video: Fred VanVleet hits the bail-out 3-pointer in Game 3 of NBA Finals
With Game 3 of the NBA Finals still up in the air, the Toronto Raptors turned toward an unlikely hero to bail them out: Fred VanVleet.
Instead of Kyle Lowry or Kawhi Leonard, VanVleet was the one who hit a desperation 3-point attempt with less than two minutes remaining and the score at 115-105. VanVleet’s shot put the game away and silence the Oracle Arena crowd.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 6, 2019
With only 1.5 seconds left on the shot clock, VanVleet was forced into an awkward 3-pointer as Golden State Warrior forward Draymond Green lurched to contest the shot. While the shot looked almost two-handed and arced impossibly high, it landed perfectly in the bottom of the basket and hit nothing but net.
VanVleet has broken out in his first Finals appearance. Originally just a backup who played quality minutes while starter Danny Green rested on the bench, VanVleet has played so well that he is frequently on the floor as the Raptors close out games.
In Game 3, he played a whopping 33 minutes, even more than Green who started. He scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including the shot that sealed the game.
Perhaps even more importantly, VanVleet has been a pesky defender on Curry. While there is no way to lock up the superstar sharpshooter, VanVleet has done a great job bothering Curry. When the Raptors went to a box-and-one defense in Game 2, VanVleet was the free defender who chased Curry all over the floor.
After his excellent Game 3 play, VanVleet will look to help the Raptors get yet another road win when Game 4 is played on Friday, June 7.