Connect with us

Uncategorized

10 things: Raptors make more clutch plays to squeak past Pelicans

Published

on


Here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 105-101 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

One — The Raptors extended their win streak to six games despite not giving their best effort. Credit to the Pelicans for playing with intensity and executing on defence, but the Raptors have a higher gear than what they showed in this game. Fortunately, Toronto has two all-star level performers as of late and they are delivering the results regardless of whether momentum is on their side. The mark of a good team is that they can grind out results even without playing their best game, and the Raptors were able to take care of business yet again despite some shortcomings.

Two — The Raptors came up with a series of clutch plays to take it at the end. First, it was the back-to-back threes from Fred VanVleet to answer after the Pelicans caught the defence napping on an inbound play to Herbert Jones to go up three. VanVleet answered on the next trip down, where it didn’t seem like the Raptors had any advantage at all until VanVleet sunk a deep shot with a short clock from the logo. Any catch-and-shoot chance inside of halfcourt is dropping for him.

Advertisement

The next trip down after that, Pascal Siakam scooped up a loose pass from the Pelicans and found VanVleet streaking ahead in transition, but he wisely read that the Pelicans were hunting for the chase down block, so VanVleet stepped back at the three-point line for another triple to go up three. From there, neither team would get a basket, except when the Raptors grabbed two key offensive rebounds to run out the clock thus forcing the Pelicans to intentionally foul.

[radioclip id=5270491]

Three — Nick Nurse won the game by playing big on a night where he was short on perimeter creation. Even though the Pelicans have a reliable rebounder in Jonas Valanciunas, who collected 17 boards for a standard night of work, the Raptors were still able to win the rebounding battle 46-35, including two key boards that secured the win. The Raptors played most of the game with two bigs on at once against only one for the Pelicans, and Nurse was smart to instruct his players to crash the glass on most plays in the second half. The absence of Gary Trent Jr. was noticeable in how much the Raptors lacked a third player who could create their own offence around Siakam and VanVleet, but winning the possession battle evened it all out.

Four — Teams are showing respect to VanVleet by aggressively blitzing him. VanVleet is on such a tear that the Pelicans just decided to force him to surrender the ball even if that meant sending two defenders 30-feet out for the hard double team. It’s not dissimilar to the service that Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard or Trae Young often see, and just like those teams, the Raptors will need to rehearse how to properly capitalize on these 4-on-3 scenarios.

The best playmaker in the middle of the floor is probably Khem Birch, who makes quick decisions and has good touch on flip shots with either hand. But there’s a hard limit as to how much offence you can get from Birch even on a good night. The Raptors should also try Siakam or Scottie Barnes as the screener for VanVleet if teams continue to trap him. Either way, the Raptors should spend some time in practice to prepare for it.

Advertisement

Five — Siakam has been excellent as an on-ball creator. Siakam has the ball more than anybody else right now since the Raptors are trying to get VanVleet off the ball for catch-and-shoot chances, which requires someone else to handle the actual point duties. But if the opening doesn’t materialize, Siakam has done a great job of making quick and decisive moves to get into the paint.

He was excellent for the Raptors in bailing out stagnant possessions or short clock scenarios, and Siakam buffed his efficiency by getting to the line 10 times. With Siakam back in top gear, the Raptors have a reliable one-two punch along with VanVleet. They’re great together, but the bigger impact is having a second star to float the bench lineups. Once again, the Siakam-led secondary unit was able to stretch the lead when VanVleet sat.

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-516915” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).data(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = {preroll:{1:{1:{siteID:191888},2:{siteID:191889}}}};
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6290870978001&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else {
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6290870978001&cmsid=384”;
}
*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6290870978001&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.includes(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result){
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI){
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
}

Advertisement

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP){
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;
}

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.replace(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );
}

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3E%3C/script%3E”) );

$( document ).one( “ready’, function() {
$( “#video_container-516915” ).SNPlayer( {
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “rkedLxwfab”,
//autoplay: false,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6290870978001,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
section: “”,
thumbnail: “https://usasportnews.com/wp-content/webpc-passthru.php?src=https://usasportnews.com/wp-content/webpc-passthru.php?src=https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/6290870978001-1024×576.jpg&nocache=1&nocache=1”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/video/raptors-recent-play-shown-give-season/”
});
});

Advertisement

Six — Siakam is also starting to embrace the three again. He was 3-for-5 from deep, which is his fourth-straight game with at least two makes. All of these attempts are coming in sequences where the ball is swinging to him, and Siakam is shooting within the flow of the game. These are the attempts that every player needs to take, but Siakam was reluctant to attempt them earlier in the year. Where Siakam gets in trouble is when he takes threes off the dribble, because that’s usually a sign that he’s unable to generate advantages in his off-the-dribble game.

Seven — Birch has not been sharp since his return from injury. The knee swelling that sidelined him for over a month might still be affecting him as Birch’s mobility has been lacking. The smarts are still there, which is most evident in the way he screens effectively or when he makes the right extra pass, but the finer points of his game are missing. Birch is an undersized big who relies on his athleticism, so without the ability to chase down loose balls — or if he’s a step late to react — the difference is notable. Nurse is still showing trust in him, however, as he closed the game with Birch despite a lackluster game overall, and Birch ultimately rewarded that decision by chasing down a key offensive rebound to wrap up the win.

Eight — The combination of Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa has been excellent off the bench. Their partnership has been the main reason for the turnaround of the second unit of late, and it starts on the defensive end. The two bigs combined for three steals and three blocks to go along with six offensive rebounds, and were able to get ahead of the play and finish plays in transition. Another benefit of their switchability is that when the play turns over, the Raptors have bigs running ahead of the play against opposing guards, which makes for easier targets to pass to and finish on the break. The concern is that one of the two needs to start knocking down threes, because teams are just sagging off them completely in halfcourt scenarios.

Will Lou and Alex Wong talk all things Raptors live on Sportsnet 590 The FAN weekdays from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET.

Nine — If Birch keeps struggling, the Raptors have another option to turn to in Justin Champagnie. Even though he is only six-foot-six, Champagnie serves the same role as a center in how he attacks the glass and the subtle ways he finds gaps with his cutting around the basket for layups. Champagnie gives them more mobility on defense, and another big who can switch. Nurse skipped this option against the Pelicans since he needed more size to body up against Valanaciunas, but don’t be surprised if Champagnie starts to eat into Birch’s time against teams without the true low-post bruisers.

Advertisement

Ten — Despite their success of late, the Raptors are still leaving points on the table with unforced errors. In the fourth quarter alone, the Raptors squandered two point-blank transition chances with Achiuwa fumbling a breakaway dunk out of bounds, then Svi Mykhailiuk inexplicably throwing a bounce pass right to the opponent on a two-on-one fast break. Scottie Barnes was also guilty of making the wrong reads at times, most notably on an isolation play at the end of the first half where he decided to leave his feet in a misguided attempt at feeding VanVleet rather than just calmly trying to shoot over the top of a 5-foot-10 guard. Barnes also forced a bullet pass in transition to nobody in particular which got him benched by Nurse at the end. If they want to compete with the best teams in the league, these mistakes simply cannot happen.





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Uncategorized

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado crush home runs to give the Cardinals the win

Published

on




Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado blast home runs to give the St. Louis Cardinals the win over the Milwaukee Brewers.



Source link

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Zach Wilson to undergo an MRI after suffering knee injury in Jets’ first preseason game

Published

on


USATSI

Jets second-year quarterback Zach Wilson departed New York’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles after suffering a knee injury. With over four minutes to play in the first quarter, Wilson took a first-and-10 snap from New York’s 40-yard line and scrambled out right. As he turned upfield, Wilson tried to make a cut towards the middle of the field to shake loose a would-be tackler and went down awkwardly. 

He initially was helped up by a teammate and had a noticeable limp. Wilson was then sent to the locker room for further evaluation and the Jets officially ruled him questionable to return with a knee injury. Wilson did not return to the game, and afterwords, Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters that Wilson will undergo an MRI on Saturday. 

Given that this is merely an exhibition, it wouldn’t be surprising for the team to keep him sidelined for the rest of the game even if he is healthy enough to go. This injury does have some room for concern, however, because it doesn’t appear like Wilson was touched as he went down to the field. And anytime there’s a non-contact injury, it should leave the team holding its breath. 

Advertisement

Prior to the injury, Wilson wasn’t off to a hot start. On the Jets’ opening drive of the evening, he threw a poor interception to Eagles linebacker Kyzir White on a pass intended for Corey Davis. Wilson completed three of his five passes for 23 yards and that pick before going down. 

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is entering his sophomore season after a rocky rookie campaign. In 13 games, he completed just 55.6% of his passes for 2,334 yards, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. 





Source link

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Tommy Pham hits walk-off single to give Red Sox a 3-2 victory over Yankees

Published

on




Tommy Pham ripped a walk-off single to give the Boston Red Sox a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees in ten innings.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending