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Raptors’ Fred VanVleet denies correlation between birth of son, playoff turnaround

Fred VanVleet, Raptors

Since the birth of his child, Toronto Raptors backup guard Fred VanVleet has looked like another player, immediately boosting the team’s chances of taking home the NBA Championship.

On May 20, 2019, Fred Jr. was born — in between Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. The night before his child’s birth, VanVleet went 1-11; however in the next three games after that, VanVleet shot 14-17.

Nonetheless, VanVleet doesn’t say the birth of his child is the reason for his playoff turnaround.

“I’m not giving him no credit,” VanVleet told Michael Lee and Dan Robson of The Athletic. “It’s all me. It’s all the work I’ve been putting in.”

VanVleet has excelled so far in his first NBA Finals appearance, with 15 points in Game 1 on 5-8 shooting, 17 points in Game 2 on 7-17 shooting, and 11 points in Game 3 on 4-8 shooting.

But it’s not just the scoring where VanVleet is over-performing. Defending Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is where VanVleet has made noise.

While Curry is still going for nights like 47 points during Game 3, VanVleet is making it much harder for Curry to find easy opportunities, stifling the Warriors’ offense.

During the NBA Finals, stars attract all the attention, but it’s the players like VanVleet who put teams over the top.