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Raptors’ Fred VanVleet reacts to avoiding 0-3 hole vs. Celtics with brutal shot at Nets

Fred VanVleet, Raptors

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet expressed his enthusiasm after his team finally got on the board against the Boston Celtics in their best-of-seven affair on Thursday. However, the 26-year-old shooter also seemingly threw some major shade against the Raptors’ first-round opponents, the Brooklyn Nets.

Following the defending champions’ razor-close 104-103 victory in Game 3, VanVleet shared this brutally honest take on why his team dropped their first two games against the red-hot Celtics.

“With all due respect to Brooklyn, I don’t think that got us ready to play at the level we needed to be ready for Game 1 (vs. Boston). … Nobody was happy. People were pissed off. The mood wasn’t great,” he said post-game, via The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver.

While Fred VanVleet’s take might sound harsh to some, he wasn’t wrong on this one. The Raptors barely broke a sweat during that four-game sweep against the undermanned 7th-seeded Nets. They became the first team to advance to the second round after that lopsided beatdown. The Celtics also swept their first-round series, but the Philadelphia 76ers gave them a much better challenge.

Van Vleet was on fire against the Nets, dropping three-straight 20+ plus outings in the first three games of the series, before taking it easy in Game 4.

The undrafted guard’s efficiency dropped a bit in the second round, thanks to the Celtics’ amazing team defense. VanVleet had his best game of the semis so far on Thursday, recording 25 points on 9-of-22 FG shooting and 5-for-13 from deep, along with six assists and three boards in 41 minutes.

The Raptors, meanwhile, avoided going down 0-3 in Game 3 following the last-second heroics of OG Anunoby. That final play was initially drawn to give VanVleet the final shot, but it was OG who found himself wide open and delivered for the defending champs. VanVleet didn’t mind at all and even gave props to his teammate after the ball game.

Fred VanVleet and the Raptors will look to even the series up at two wins a piece on Saturday.