Bigger Game Changer: Three Or Dunk? Answered By Raptors Win Over Pacers

The Raptors came away with a pretty impressively unimpressive comeback win over the 3rdplace (in the East) Pacers on Wednesday. Without Lowry, Ibaka or Valanciunas, the Raptors struggled to muster up any offence putting up only 99 points. Now, you old heads out there are probably thinking that’s good but this isn't the mid 90's anymore. The league has changed. Nowadays when you score that little, you're getting blown out.

Right from the get-go, the Raptors didn't really look like they were going to win getting down six as early as 6 minutes into the game. They had their moments and went on some nice runs to get back into the game. But, right when they would get within striking distance, the Pacers would go on a run of their own to calm the storm. At the end of the 1stquarter, they were down 10, 8 after the half and down 10 again going into the final frame. They were even down by as much as 17 in the 3rd.

Performing a comeback like this generally takes two things. First, your team needs to have the guts to continue to battle and second, there has to be some sort of play that shifts the momentum of the game. A bunch of plays were made that could’ve caused that switch but unfortunately, on most, they weren’t able to rally off of them.

Just like that NBA commercial, the important question is what's the bigger game changer? A three-ball or a dunk? This game had both.

So, according to this game is a dunk or three more of a game changer?

With about 3 ½ minutes into the 4thquarter, down 10, the Raptors needed a bucket badly and a Pascal Siakam fast break led to a Fred VanVleet three ball. 

Before Freddy’s three, he was 0-6 from deep and the Raptors were a combined 4-23 (17.4%). Right after the three, they had a great defensive possession forcing Thadeus Young to miss a tough two and coming back to score on the other end. The three got them back into the swing of things offensively and motivated them on the defensive end. It felt like the Raptors hadn’t made a three the whole game until that point so it gave the crowd a much-needed boost and encouragement. 

2 ½ minutes later, Kawhi came down and jammed home one of the best dunks of the season to pull the Raptors to within five.

The Kawhi dunk is what really had me believe in the comeback. As my mom said, "It was an F-U moment.” And frankly, I can’t agree more. That dunk took the life out of the Pacers and gave it right to the Raptors and more importantly to the fans. Post dunk, the Raptors hit their next four shots and went on a 9-2 run to tie the game with just over four minutes to go. There was no way the Pacers were going to hold on after that run.

Not all dunks are the same, but when they come in the form of a massive poster it has to be given credit. The game had been slowed down and there were a few exciting plays that came from it. So, a dunk was more inclined to bring that much-needed energy. Yes, a three is worth more and gets you closer or keeps you ahead. It just doesn't have that same raw excitement as seeing someone slamming home that orange ball. 

Advantage: Dunk