If basketball video games lasted 12 minutes, I’d be telling you that the Raptors received final evening towards the Path Blazers in Portland.
Nevertheless, regulation is 48 minutes and that’s not what occurred. However, I’m right here to let you know to not panic as a result of that is the sort of rising pains that had been anticipated getting into the season. Within the first half, OG got here out firing as he knocked down a career-best six three’s from downtown. Toronto began out the sport with nice vitality and ended the primary quarter with a 33-24 benefit. Trying to construct on that within the second quarter wasn’t straightforward, because the Raps shot 36.4% from the sector and allowed Portland to execute their most offensively environment friendly quarter, taking pictures 71.4% from each the sector and from three, on their option to 37 second-quarter factors.
Let’s discuss extra about OG although. I really feel like each time I watch him there are two issues which can be always on my thoughts. The primary is how sturdy he’s. We’ve seen him get the ball below the basket or seize the offensive board and as an alternative of going up immediately, he fakes his defenders, who as a rule, will chunk. Up to now, utilizing it within the paint is good for when Toronto faces groups that don’t have a frightening inside presence. It’s a satisfying sight and whereas it’s on show extra this season than another, it’s not translating to Ws.
The opposite factor I take into consideration is how OG can appear off-balance at instances. From what I’ve seen, generally his footing strikes a bit slower than his higher physique and it causes him to fall down or stumble into his personal ft. If his footwork improves, the one factor left for him to concentrate on is playmaking.
Pascal Siakam has managed to combine himself with none points, except you contemplate that Toronto hasn’t received a sport with him again within the lineup. I believe that has much less to do with him and extra to do with the general improvement of this crew. After tallying 25 factors, 12 boards and 7 assists towards Detroit, he continued his all-around manufacturing by scoring 20 factors, six rebounds and 6 dimes. The most important totally different I’m seeing in his sport this yr is that the ball doesn’t essentially cease with him. He’s purchased into the crew and attempting to search for who’s open moderately than searching for his personal shot first.
Gary Trent Jr. has totally earned the belief of Nurse, as he’s left on the market for upwards of 32 minutes a sport. It looks as if years in the past that he was labelled as a one dimensional participant who might solely shoot the ball. He’s now attacking the rim, inviting contact, and diving for free balls. His defensive depth has picked up and I at all times thought he was extra productive as a starter, moderately than coming off the bench. His impression on video games goes far past the field rating, as he at the moment leads the league in deflections and is tied for steals at second place.
Anyway, there are a pair issues that stood out to me about this loss and I believe they most likely stood out to you too.
Reliance on starters
Right here’s what number of minutes the starters performed final evening:
By way of: theScore
Sometimes, it’s protected to imagine that your finest gamers will log round 35-38 minutes nightly. I believe in a sport that was so shut, Coach Nurse was assured sticking with this group in an effort to preserve Toronto within the sport and by all accounts, he was proper. However with all these minutes, the opportunity of accidents solely improve. Backside line is that the manufacturing was strong, however all of us noticed the accidents pile up final yr, along with gamers having to overlook video games attributable to COVID protocols.
On prime of that, the Raptors scored a complete of 113 factors. Add the above level totals up and also you get 101, which quantities to 89% of the entire 113 that they scored final evening. It simply isn’t lifelike or good to depend on your starters for this each evening. To color issues in a optimistic gentle, I’m glad that the starters had been capable of maintain their very own towards a lot of what the Path Blazers threw their means.
Then again, right here’s what number of minutes the bench performed:
By way of: theScore
If Nurse remains to be attempting to determine his rotations, there’s little doubt the bench might use some consideration. The bench unit mixed for 39 minutes and solely scored 12 factors. Khem Birch has carved out a job for himself which has similarities to what Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka did for Toronto however he’s not relied on as closely to be a defensive anchor. Don’t get me unsuitable. He’s an anchor, however he’s not at all times the heaviest half.
It’s at all times good to see Dalano Banton get minutes within the first quarter. However his impression was tiny, if something in any respect and he solely performed for eight minutes. Svi Mykhailiuk performed with some depth however once more, had little or no time to get right into a rhythm. Nurse gave Malachi Flynn some run time however after Goran Dragic posted strong numbers towards Detroit, I’m wondering if he might’ve been serviceable for Toronto sooner or later final evening.
Toronto began this sport out sizzling. I’m Indian so we’re speaking vindaloo ranges of spice, particularly OG. However after the primary quarter, the Raps had been outscored 37-27 within the second and any probability of coming again was rapidly extinguished by Portland. CJ McCollum lit Toronto up for 10 within the fourth, on his option to 29. The defence simply couldn’t deal with the Path Blazers sizzling taking pictures close to the tip, as they continued to warmth up.
Raptors quiet down after sizzling begin in L to Path Blazers originated on Raptors Republic.