The Toronto Raptors routed the Brooklyn Nets on their way to the first 3-0 lead in franchise history.
Powered by a big third quarter from Pascal Siakam and a huge double-double off the bench from Serge Ibaka, the Raptors took care of business to put themselves one game away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
For more on Toronto's decisive 117-92 win, we have you covered with some quick thoughts below.
1. Siakam's huge third quarter
It was a lackadaisical first half for the Raptors All-Star forward, looking like more of the same from what we've seen thus far in this series.
Siakam entered halftime with just 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field and 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, looking lost on the offensive end at times. The second half was a different story as Siakam came out firing in the third quarter.
He was Toronto's catalyst that we're used to seeing, scoring 14 points in the third frame alone. He was an efficient 6-for-11 from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, attacking aggressively and asserting his dominance when the Nets switched smaller defenders on to him.
Due to the Raptors' big lead, his playing time was limited following his third quarter outbreak. He still finished with his best game of the series, going for 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal, shooting 47.8% from the field.
Toronto will need to see this version of Siakam moving forward if they're going to defend their NBA title.
2. Kyle Lowry - king of drawing charges
When Kyle Lowry stepped in the lane to take a charge on Garrett Temple in the second quarter, he regained a position he's very familiar with - leading the league in charges drawn.
Lowry led the NBA with 34 charges drawn in the regular season. His charge drawn on Temple marked his third of the playoffs, breaking his tie with LeBron James and Canada's own Khem Birch (two each) for the most in the postseason.
During the Raptors 2019 title run, Lowry led the NBA Playoffs with 16 charges drawn. It surely won't be the last time we see Toronto's All-Star guard sacrifice his body for the good of the team.
Best in the biz pic.twitter.com/SkrMbqFiPj- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 21, 2020
3. VanVleet from way downtown
It doesn't matter if it's in the paint, from 3-point land or from the other side of halfcourt, Fred VanVleet has it going right now.
.@FredVanVleet is just ridiculous pic.twitter.com/MDyUyV1Sru- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 21, 2020
Per ESPN Stats & Info., this make from 52 feet is the longest of VanVleet's career and the longest made FG by any player in a playoff game since Darius Miller made a 72-footer on April 28, 2018.
4. Sensational Serge
Ibaka was the biggest difference-maker in this contest.
He didn't get out to an ideal start, missing his first four shots of the game, but that didn't affect the veteran big man. He'd go on to make every shot he took for the remainder of the game, converting on eight field goal attempts in a row, including a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
Ibaka was fantastic off the bench, giving the Raptors a strong 23 minutes of playing time on his way to a monster double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds.
It's no secret the Raptors are at their best when they get production from players on their second unit, and Serge provided that punch today.
5. Making life difficult for LeVert
The Raptors have done a terrific job slowing down the Nets' primary scorer Caris LeVert in this series.
OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam's efforts on this possession in the first quarter is all you need to see to understand just how tough the Raptors have made things for the 25-year-old.
CLAMPED 'EM pic.twitter.com/XSfKHBSfvW- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 21, 2020
Multiple bodies keyed in on LeVert causing a turnover and easy bucket in transition. Poetry in motion for Toronto.
He'd finish with a quiet 15 points to go with six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
6. Tyler Johnson's big game
Johnson, who was waived by the Phoenix Suns earlier this season and scooped up by the Nets to fill a roster spot in the bubble, made his impact felt in Game 3.
He had been relatively quiet in this series ahead of this contest, scoring 19 total points through the first two games of the playoffs. When teammate Joe Harris had to leave the bubble following Game 2, head coach Jacque Vaughn inserted Johnson into the starting lineup.
Johnson responded by exceeding his playoff total of 19 points in just three quarters of Game 3, finishing with 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field with five 3-pointers.
🔥 @RealTJohnson 🔥#BrooklynStrong | @ImperialDade pic.twitter.com/nyvvTILSMJ- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 21, 2020
It was an impressive showing from Brooklyn's starting shooting guard.
7. Allen's interesting stat line
When you look at the box score of this one, Jarrett Allen's stat line might catch your eye. He finished with four points and 17 rebounds, but went 0-for-0 from the field.
With this stat line, Allen became the first player in NBA history to have 15-plus rebounds with zero field goal attempts in a playoff game. His four points came from a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
The Raptors will have a chance to close out the series with a sweep for the first time in franchise history on Monday, Aug. 24th.
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