A day with Kevin Durant and James Harden exhibits the benefit in Raptors’ plan, but in addition the failings – The Athletic
That was the exclamation level of a second quarter during which the Raptors held the explosive Nets to 24 factors, together with seven turnovers, 4 of them belonging to Durant. With the season debut of Pascal Siakam, the Raptors performed for the primary time with all three of their long-armed, versatile wings. They confirmed what they may do towards a pair of probably the most explosive offensive gamers within the sport, Durant and James Harden.
“How outdated is he? 19? 20?” Durant mentioned of Barnes after the sport. “Sheesh.”
“I feel the second quarter — that’s the way you’d draw up what it needed to appear like,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned after his group misplaced 116-103 to the Nets. “We have been all over the place. Each time anyone turned, anyone else was there after which we have been out and working.”
For the remainder of the afternoon, the Nets uncovered what the Raptors nonetheless have to work on or, ultimately, purchase. The Raptors shot 7-for-30 from deep. Barnes is a non-threat from there, which is okay as long as there aren’t any different non-shooters on the ground. The place Siakam finally ends up as a deep risk will say quite a bit about that, and judging him on one sport after a six-month absence from aggressive basketball, a number of of which have been spent recovering from shoulder surgical procedure, is foolish. In Siakam’s 25 minutes, the Raptors scored simply 102.1 factors per 100 possessions. Spacing was a difficulty, as was on-court chemistry.
“It’s us understanding our spots, realizing how I play, and me additionally understanding how they play,” Siakam mentioned. “There have been some glimpses, however we’ve bought to get higher.”
On the entire, although, it’s fairly simple to determine: The long-term defensive plan makes numerous sense if the Raptors can coach their trio of pterodactyl-esque defenders, and particularly Barnes, on the right way to work collectively on offence. There have been some moments when all of it made sense, with Siakam flashing some badly wanted playmaking off a drive, creating some ball motion that finally rewarded him on the again finish with a dunk. Nevertheless, there was plenty of clunky offensive spacing on the market. When there wasn’t, there simply wasn’t sufficient shotmaking.
The defence ought to come fairly naturally. Barnes had 5 steals, whereas Anunoby absorbed possession after possession of isolation defence towards Durant. That left Siakam, for probably the most half, to fly round and threaten shooters. For the primary half, all of it held up fairly effectively. And, if the Raptors had made a number of of their open appears to begin the third quarter, or if Barnes didn’t get in foul hassle, the strategy may need produced an in depth end.
Nevertheless, the distinction between when the Raptors might put their finest defensive lineups on the market towards Durant and after they couldn’t was apparent. With Barnes in foul hassle and Siakam on the bench due to his minutes restriction, the Nets merely gave Durant the ball, set a display screen on Anunoby and let the all-time nice go to work on Gary Trent or Svi Mykhailiuk. The sport grew to become elemental for the Nets. The Raptors stopped switching fairly so liberally within the fourth quarter, permitting barely higher containment of Harden.
To seek out sufficient capturing, the Raptors saved Mykhailiuk on the ground for too lengthy and tried to cover his weaker defence by enjoying zone. That confirmed how necessary it’s to have the ability to fill the ground with two-way gamers. Not each participant goes to be a 40 p.c 3-point shooter, however having multiple participant who can not hit 33 p.c complicates issues.
“In some unspecified time in the future, we’d prefer to get it to the place, so long as our offence can operate with some house, so long as there isn’t a (weak) matchup they’ll go at,” Nurse mentioned.
The “so long as ” is doing numerous work there, at the least within the quick time period.
Pascal Siakam’s return offers Raptors a glimmer of hope in loss to Nets
“I feel it’s only a reminder for the idiots on Twitter who have gotten to beat him for the previous two years,” mentioned VanVleet, who led the Raptors with 21 factors and eight assists, in reference to among the flack Siakam took for a poor end to the 2019-20 season and a gradual begin the next 12 months. “Like, it’s a must to have some information and a few really feel, and also you see him on the market and also you say, effectively rattling. It’s a reminder [if you haven’t seen him] … he’s a particular expertise.
“Clearly, as soon as we knock these minutes restrictions out and get our rhythm and get our really feel as a bunch with him on the market, I feel that we’re gonna be a extremely good basketball group.”
Simply having Siakam within the lineup offers the Raptors choices they haven’t had. For the reason that Nets don’t begin a standard centre, Nurse might roll out a entrance line that includes rookie Scottie Barnes, Siakam and the rising OG Anunoby. There’s potential for super-sized lineups with Siakam enjoying one thing akin to level guard and tremendous athletic lineups with Siakam enjoying middle.
The Raptors’ finest second got here within the second quarter. There was a sequence the place Siakam made a steal, made an outlet for the break after which completed in transition due to a intelligent move by Dalano Banton, one other 6-foot-8, ball-handling match-up buster. A second later, it was Siakam on a blow-by of the Nets Paul Millsap within the half courtroom.
When Siakam went to the bench, it was Barnes stealing the ball on consecutive possessions from Durant, resulting in a dunk for Chris Boucher after which one for Barnes himself. The group at Scotiabank cherished it.
Siakam, watching from the bench the place he has been probably the most animated Raptor all season, was extra subdued on Sunday.
“It was robust, after my first three minutes, I feel I wanted some fuel or one thing, my legs have been heavy, I feel I couldn’t breathe at one level,” he mentioned.
However the potential was apparent because the Raptors received the quarter 34-24 over Brooklyn to take a 60-63 lead into the half, the excessive level of the sport for the Raptors.
“[He] offers us one other athletic, skillful participant on the market,” mentioned Nurse. “… I feel the second quarter was, that’s the way you’d draw up what it [we have] to appear like, we have been all over the place. Each time anyone turned, anyone else was there, after which we have been out and working … . The extra our bodies we’ve, the more durable we must always have the ability to play.”
The Nets weren’t desirous about scripted endings. Durant and Harden attacked the Raptors clinically within the pick-and-roll within the second half. Durant had 13 of his game-high 31 within the third quarter because the Nets took an 88-77 lead into the fourth after which Harden took over, scoring 16 of his 28 within the fourth, whereas including 10 rebounds and eight assists, each sport highs.
Siakam’s finest second got here within the fourth quarter when took successful on his surgically repaired left shoulder on his approach to the rim and made the free throws, after which muscled by means of the Nets Blake Griffin for an old-school three-point play a possession later to chop Brooklyn’s result in eight factors. Then, he assists on VanVleet triple to get the Raptors inside seven with lower than 5 minutes to play. Harden responded with a 3 and that was as shut because the Raptors bought. Siakam’s evening was over a second later.
However not earlier than he punctuated his three-point play with a roar, a flex and an enormous smile. It was a win in its personal approach. It has been a very long time coming.
“One factor I discovered from final 12 months and all of the losses and the season that we had is it doesn’t matter how unhappy you get, [it’s still a loss] the following day,” he mentioned. “[So] I simply wish to be joyful, give the whole lot that I’ve. I simply wish to go on the market, play as laborious as I can for my group and clearly this 12 months, we’ve an excellent group. I feel the potential is there. We simply must proceed to work laborious and play to our identification and hopefully we are able to win some video games. [And] simply be myself.”
James Harden delivers late to safe Nets fifth straight win, defeating Raptors, 116-103 – NetsDaily
Brooklyn had a complete of six gamers end in double figures within the highway victory — Durant and Harden plus Blake Griffin (14), Bruce Brown (12), Joe Harris (11) and Mills (13). An enormous issue into having six gamers in double-figures was the ball motion — 29 assists on 41 made pictures. The Nets additionally had 5 gamers with three or extra 3-pointers, led by Griffin’s 4, probably the most since he joined the Nets final season.
“The protection was actually sturdy. Within the first and second, we get some slippage. I feel that was right down to turnovers. They bought out and ran for straightforward baskets, so the turnovers and offensive rebounds, once more have been a difficulty. Offensively, there have been pockets of play the place we have been actually proud of,” mentioned Nash. We nonetheless must push to play that approach naturally and from begin to end. I believed tonight, we clearly made pictures however we have been sharp with our intent and our function offensively for stretches. That’s what bought us by means of.”
The Nets ran the identical beginning lineup — Harden, Harris, Durant, Brown and Griffin — for the seventh straight sport. Though Brooklyn had problem early discovering house on the offensive finish as a result of Toronto’s size, the group discovered a rhythm behind the play of Durant, who scored 12 of the Nets’ 29 factors to take a 29-26 lead after one. Griffin snagged six rebounds within the body.
It was a back-and-forth second quarter, however Brooklyn’s second unit held it down defensively, holding Toronto to solely 21 p.c capturing from the sphere by means of the primary six minutes of the second. Nonetheless, the Raptors cast a 9-2 run within the span of a minute to seize a six-point lead. Following the run, Durant picked up a technical foul for arguing with the officers over a push within the again name on Chris Boucher. “I didn’t contact him! I didn’t contact him!” KD pleaded.
Within the ultimate minute, the Raptors robust protection despatched a pair of double groups at Durant within the midrange, leading to two turnovers. Toronto, in truth, flipped Brooklyn’s 9 first-half turnovers into 13 factors and because the second quarter buzzer sounded, the house group hit the break nursing a seven-point benefit. The Nets didn’t play Griffin all through the second quarter and as a substitute, tried to go small towards the prolonged Raptors.
Durant led the Nets with 16 first-half factors on 6-of-12 capturing from the sphere and 1-of-4 from deep in 19 minutes of play. Harden adopted with 10 factors on 4-of-11 capturing from the sphere however went 0-of-5 from three.
Toronto Raptors drop second in a row, lose to the Brooklyn Nets 116-103 – Raptors HQ
Fred VanVleet led the way in which for the Raptors with 21 factors and eight assists, however the group struggled to shoot from the perimeter, hitting a paltry 7-for-30 in comparison with the Nets’ 17-for-38. OG Anunoby had a quiet and inefficient evening of 16 factors (on 7-for-16 capturing) and eight rebounds. Treasured Achiuwa regarded good off the bench, dropping 13 factors and eight rebounds. Scottie Barnes stuffed the stat sheet for the Raptors tonight, going for 8 factors, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals, whereas choosing up Durant and Harden full courtroom:
The Nets cracked the sport open within the third quarter, as they’d shortly erase the Raptors’ halftime lead on a 24-7 run to begin the second half. Maybe the Raptors’ offensive futility within the half-court affected their efficiency on the defensive finish, as there was numerous miscommunication and poor effort on show. Within the second half, Gary Trent Jr’s 12 factors weren’t sufficient towards the buzzing Nets’ offense, however he in all probability had his finest help as a Raptor, when he discovered Siakam chopping beneath the basket. Sadly, I can’t discover any clips, so I can’t verify if the move occurred.
Siakam would get his first contact early on the sport towards Joe Harris on the submit however selected to not power it. The Raptors’ offense gave the impression to be off to a superb begin, as VanVleet hit Anunoby with an unbelievable move for a dunk, and Anunoby returned the favour discovering VanVleet on the perimeter for a trifecta. Nevertheless, Durant began to take over for the Nets, as he racked up 10 factors whereas going towards an assortment of lengthy defenders.
Siakam made his first shot of the season when he nailed a top-of-the-key three-pointer off a pleasant set play, however he could be a casualty of Durant’s onslaught on the elbow, as he picked up his second foul 5 minutes into the sport. The Raptors’ poor capturing from the perimeter was their Achilles heel within the quarter, as Anunoby channelling “mid-range Kawhi” saved the Nets inside putting distance.
Birthday boy Dalano Banton supplied the spark within the second quarter for the Raptors, as he accomplished an and-1 and arrange Siakam for a transition layup the next play. The Raptors would go on an 11-2 run to capitalize on the Nets’ errors. Harden tried to maintain the Nets within the sport, pouring in six factors, however the Raptors’ protection compelled the Nets to commit turnover after turnover, which led to fastbreak factors, together with the informal dunk from Barnes beneath.
The Raptors opened the second half sluggish, capturing 0-4 from the sphere, however extra importantly, wanting discombobulated on protection. The Nets took benefit, happening a 9-0 run to take the lead at 62-60, quickly stretching the lead 77-67.
Raptors Get Pascal Siakam Again, however Nets’ Duo Show Too A lot – Sports activities Illustrated Toronto Raptors Information, Evaluation and Extra
Lastly, on Sunday the lengthy await Siakam was over. A smile swept throughout his face as he took the courtroom for the primary time this season to the loudest applause of any Raptors starter.
The previous All-Star labored his approach into issues early, letting Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby handle the work offensively whereas he discovered his groove. Then, bang. His first bucket of the season, an above-the-break three-pointer, the sort he’d struggled with so mightily final 12 months.
The return, nonetheless, was spoiled, at the least on the scoreboard, by a 116-103 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Toronto saved it shut within the first half, however a tough begin to the second quarter let Kevin Durant and ultimately James Harden take over. The Raptors have been outscored 35-17 within the third, together with 13 factors from Durant and a lights-out fourth from Harden left Toronto helpless.
Siakam’s leash was fairly quick for a lot of the afternoon. Toronto subbed him out each 5 minutes till the fourth quarter, nevertheless it was clear his presence allowed the Raptors to do some various things defensively.
“It’s given us one other athletic, skillful participant on the market,” Nurse mentioned. “I feel the second quarter was, that’s the way you’d draw up what it needed to appear like. We have been all over the place. Each time anyone turned, anyone else was there after which we have been out and working.”
Toronto bought to flex their zone defenses and switching-everything schemes Raptors coach Nick Nurse talked about within the preseason. Certain, Durant bought his buckets, scoring 31 within the sport, however no one else has actually discovered a approach to cease him this season. As an alternative, the Raptors compelled the Nets into 17 turnovers resulting in 23 factors.
“We’d prefer to get it to the place there isn’t a mathcup they’ll go at,” Nurse mentioned. “That we are able to simply swap, it’s switching to Scottie or OG, Pascal, or Khem or Treasured or Chris. We must always have some measurement on the market to play towards.
“Ideally to get to a one-through-five switching scenario, hopefully it is going to allow us to maintain the ball in entrance and never must pay, to rotate as a lot, that’s sort of the thought.”
Josh Lewenberg: Pascal Siakam makes emotional return in Raptors’ loss to Brooklyn – TSN.ca
Siakam regarded good, all issues thought of. He was a bit rusty, lacking a number of two-foot putts across the rim, the kind of pictures you’ll count on to see him knock down in every week or two, as soon as he will get his rhythm and conditioning again. Admittedly, he wanted to catch his breath a number of occasions, which is comprehensible after such a protracted layoff.
“It was robust,” the 27-year-old mentioned. “After my first three minutes I feel I wanted some fuel or one thing. My legs have been heavy and I feel I couldn’t breathe at one level, nevertheless it was anticipated.”
Siakam has been working towards with the group for weeks, and was just lately cleared for contact. After a fast journey to Los Angeles, the place he visited with the physician who carried out his surgical procedure, he was given the inexperienced mild to return. Initially, he was anticipated to be again in mid-late November, so this was forward of schedule. They considered perhaps ready one other week or two, getting him in a number of extra practices, however why not use sport motion to get again into sport form? He was capped at 25 minutes in his season debut, although he did reclaim his beginning spot. Nick Nurse tried to restrict him to quick spurts, and he used elastic bands to maintain his shoulder unfastened when he was on the bench.
For probably the most half, the fatigue didn’t present. Siakam regarded spry. He ran the ground effectively, attacked the basket, made good reads, and was energetic defensively.
He drilled his first shot, an above-the-break three, early within the opening quarter. Dalano Banton discovered him for a transition layup within the second. He blew previous the veteran for the rating and blocked Griffin’s shot from the nook.
There was a play within the third quarter that served as a superb instance of how Siakam – even at lower than 100 per cent – ought to assist open up Toronto’s offence. He drove into the paint and took two or three Nets defenders with him earlier than kicking the ball out. After a pair extra passes, the ball discovered Gary Trent Jr., who bought into the lane and linked with Siakam on a baseline reduce beneath the rim. Siakam began the possession by getting the defence on its heels and the ball transferring back and forth, and he capped it off with a dunk.
“He’s going to maintain discovering his ft, his legs, however for the primary sport I believed he regarded fairly good,” mentioned of Siakam, who completed with 15 factors, 4 rebounds and a few blocks on 5-of-12 capturing. “It’s good to have him on the market. You sort of neglect how a lot he can do and what he brings to the desk. Clearly, he’s our franchise participant and this factor shouldn’t be going to go wherever with out him, so it’s a superb begin.”
After taking a seven-point lead into halftime, the sport was misplaced within the third quarter, when the Raptors’ scored simply 17 factors. had 13 of his 31 factors within the body, because the famous person ahead was again in Toronto for the primary time since tearing his Achilles in Recreation 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals with Golden State.
Nets draw back from Raptors within the second half however, hey, the band’s again collectively | The Star
The catalyst, or one of many important ones at the least, was Pascal Siakam, who performed for the primary time since early Might and didn’t look a bit misplaced.
His 15 factors and 4 rebounds have been positive however his presence was necessary and might be a figuring out consider how good the Raptors turn out to be.
“He’s going to maintain discovering his ft, his legs, however for the primary sport I believed he regarded fairly good,” guard Fred VanVleet mentioned. “It’s good to have him on the market, you sort of neglect how a lot he can do and what he brings to the desk. Clearly he’s our franchise participant and this factor shouldn’t be going to go wherever with out him, so it’s a superb begin. We didn’t get the win, nevertheless it’s a superb begin.”
Siakam made a seamless return to the beginning lineup, becoming a member of VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby as Nurse loaded up the primary group together with his finest gamers.
The coach will, in fact, extra intently look at that group’s play within the subsequent couple of days nevertheless it’s laborious to see a cause to interrupt it up after one outing.
“With me coming again, guys have gotten to search out out, ‘Oh, what do I do?’ ” Siakam mentioned. “I feel that’s one thing we’re going to get higher at, simply figuring it out, speaking it out on the courtroom, choosing our spots.
“I feel Fred is at all times used to enjoying with me so it’s simpler for him, a little bit bit extra. It’s us understanding our spots, realizing how I play, and me additionally understanding how they play. There have been some glimpses, however we’ve bought to get higher.”
It was an emotional day for Siakam. He had shoulder surgical procedure in June for the primary main harm he had suffered in his profession. And coming off a season and a half of so-so play earlier than that, he mentioned simply feeling the enjoyment of enjoying carried him Sunday. The journey to get to Sunday was propelled by others.
“You see individuals that basically care about you at these occasions and simply realizing I’ve my circle of individuals — and people individuals are proper there with me by means of the whole lot — it felt nice to have that help,” Siakam mentioned. “Simply realizing that, it doesn’t matter what’s happening — I might rating zero factors and so they’d nonetheless be there for me — that meant the world to me.”
UNHAPPY RETURN: Durant steals present as Raptors lose with Siakam again | Toronto Solar
Lacking initially was the circulate that group has proven the previous handful of video games with out Siakam within the lineup.
VanVleet, who scored 21, admits it is going to take a while, however he’s absolutely assured any price might be price it.
“I believed he regarded good,” VanVleet mentioned of Siakam. “He’s going to maintain discovering his ft, his legs, however for the primary sport, I believed he regarded fairly good.
“It’s good to have him on the market. You sort of neglect how a lot he can do and what he brings to the desk. So clearly, he’s our franchise participant and this factor shouldn’t be going to go wherever with out him, so it’s a superb begin.
“We didn’t get the win, nevertheless it was good simply to have him again on the market.”
VanVleet clearly hasn’t forgotten the beating his good buddy took on social media by means of his pandemic and harm hurdles. He known as out these people when a media member marvelled at what it was prefer to see Siakam function reside as soon as once more.
“I feel it’s only a reminder for the idiots on Twitter, who’ve gotten to beat him for the previous two years,” VanVleet mentioned. “Like, it’s a must to have some information and a few really feel and also you see him on the market and also you say: “Effectively, rattling.’”
For Siakam himself, the second bought a little bit larger than he needed, however ultimately, apart from a win, he bought what he wanted to get out of his long-awaited return.
“It’s a giant second, and I attempted laborious to not make it a giant factor,” he mentioned. “Right this moment, I used to be laughing on Open Fitness center as a result of I used to be telling them I don’t wish to make it a giant deal, after which (the movie crew) involves my home and filmed me going all the way in which to the world, and it’s like yeah. So I attempted to not, however I understand how necessary it’s, and clearly I’m tremendous joyful and tremendous excited to be again in Toronto.
Tip Sam Holako
Morning Espresso – Mon, Nov 8 originated on Raptors Republic.