The Toronto Raptors’ 102-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers is as a lot a query as it’s a solution.
As in, what issues extra: That OG Anunoby missed a bit baseline fadeaway to win the sport, or that he performed an altogether glorious sport each scoring and creating for his teammates? That Toronto misplaced to an inferior Cleveland crew, or that they pressured 18 turnovers and gathered 19 offensive rebounds, including collectively to imply that the Raptors had 17 extra photographs than the Cavaliers? That Toronto misplaced a particularly winnable sport, or that they — after a five-game successful streak — have been that near successful such a sport within the first place?
After all, there are different questions that creep in to cross-examine the unique questions: Does it matter extra that Scottie Barnes had a tip-in to win the sport or that he missed the tip-in to win? Ought to a foul have been known as on Toronto to offer Cleveland its foolish result in start with? These questions are fluke, not deserving of great thought when it comes to predicting the long run for Toronto, however that doesn’t make these info any much less irritating.
The quick reply to the above questions is that it’s all tremendous. Anunoby performed effectively, which issues far more than his miss to finish the sport. Toronto’s course of in forcing turnovers and successful on the glass issues greater than the end result. The truth that they’ve been successful — and had a shot at persevering with the successful streak — issues greater than the loss. All that to say: Toronto is an efficient crew, and a loss to Cleveland doesn’t change that. By way of prediction, this loss doesn’t change any expectation of the Raptors persevering with to win video games in their very own distinctive tactical model. That’s the quick reply.
The lengthy reply is each extra difficult and in no way. Certain, Fred VanVleet had a poor capturing evening, ending 6 for 18 on the evening. He created solely jumpers for himself on the evening and didn’t makes an attempt a single shot on the rim. A lot of his makes an attempt have been wild, off-balance heaves from the midrange that sought extra to attract fouls than to create factors. The hassle adopted probably the greatest video games of his profession, when he dominated within the midrange and created for Toronto extraordinarily high-value photographs on practically each halfcourt offensive possessions. It’s absolutely disappointing that he performed poorly, however he did so towards a Cleveland crew that began two seven-footers and prioritizes the rim on each ends. Toronto can anticipate VanVleet to make extra jumpers going ahead, however such a matchup is about as troublesome as it might probably get for Toronto’s lead guard.
Equally, Scottie Barnes had a tough evening as he returned to play after lacking just a few video games with a sprained thumb. He began three for 3 after which proceeded to shoot 4 for 16 following, as he — like VanVleet — missed a parade of midrange makes an attempt. Barnes was glorious in some ways, together with as a rebounder and passer, however he couldn’t convert on photographs that he beforehand made with elite contact. Chalk it as much as rust, however he wants to try extra (a single!) triple going ahead. Toronto’s spacing points have been a key cause why they couldn’t create any photographs on the rim.
To that time, Toronto ought to most likely be most involved that it appeared to create solely midrange makes an attempt. Per Cleansing the Glass, 42 p.c of their photographs sport from the midrange, a Ninetieth-percentile fee. They tried few layups and even fewer triples. That’s an offensive course of failure, however it’s forgivable contemplating how glorious their offense has been throughout their five-game successful streak. They tried virtually no free throws and couldn’t create free factors in some other means. They’ve been an excellent — not nice — halfcourt offensive crew in latest video games. A stinker towards Cleveland doesn’t undo the beneficial properties they’ve made there not too long ago, but it surely does lend credence to the already cheap takeaway that halfcourt offense can be Toronto’s best weak point.
In the long run, the Raptors must discover a extra environment friendly transition offense, and they should create extra photographs on the rim. Thankfully — and cease me should you’ve heard this earlier than — Pascal Siakam is on his means. He’s an elite reply to the various questions that plagued Toronto towards Cleveland.
So what issues extra: That Toronto’s successful streak is over, or that it existed within the first place? Definitely the latter. Toronto performed a poor sport towards Cleveland, but they misplaced as a result of they missed photographs they’ve beforehand made and likewise partially as a result of they acquired unfortunate. None of their weaknesses towards Cleveland ought to have been surprises, and equally neither have been their strengths. Their protection stood sturdy, and so they gained the areas of the sport — offensive rebounding and turnovers — that they prioritize. Belief the method. Their strengths ought to typically outweigh their weaknesses, and thus going ahead Toronto ought to stay a superb crew.
Tip Louis Zatzman
The Raptors’ successful streak ends towards the Cavaliers, 102-101 originated on Raptors Republic.