The worst shooting quarter in team history was an unmissable, comet spark of an indicator that Toronto’s offence is far from optimal, no matter what the metrics say. The team doesn’t run the type of offence that wins in the playoffs (doesn’t run enough of an offence in general, if we are being honest) and simply doesn’t play smart far too often.
Afterward, DeMar DeRozan said everybody on the team – “including myself” – has to pass the ball more, but there is a difference between words and actions. DeRozan must prove that he actually believes what he is saying.
It is troubling that Dwane Casey talked pre-game about how the team focus at practice had been on spacing and on moving the ball. “Teams are sagging off of certain people in the starting lineup, not just James. Certain teams, some of them help off of JV, they don’t guard him, some of them help off of Amir, some of them help off of James. So different teams have different schemes and we’ve got to be able to see that and recognize that and make sure each of those guys get to their spots … When you do go iso… and again, that’s who DeMar is, he’s a semi-postup player and he’s going to be in that situation. But it’s up to his teammates to make sure they get to their spots, get the proper spacing. If they see their man cut, relocate. We have certain position on the floor when he is in the post and it’s up to them to get to where they are. But at the end of the day we do have to do a better job of moving the ball.”
- The problem with putting a lot of this on teammates not cutting or not moving, is DeRozan has shown incredible reluctance in at least half of the games this season to look for them at all. His modus operandi has been to force up shots, even with two defenders on him, instead of finding wide open teammates.
- Casey had talked a few weeks ago about finding more time for Patterson, saying “Pat’s energy is contagious, the way he plays, how hard he plays … It’s nothing against Amir, JV or Tyler, but he plays at a different level that’s an NBA skill.” For whatever reason, being elevated to starter didn’t have a positive impact on Patterson for this one night. Like most of his teammates, Patterson didn’t seem to have his usual pop
- Is Valanciunas running around too much? For the second time in the previous five, he ran more than any other Raptor. Your centre shouldn’t really be doing that. Could his running be more productive if he is in the right spots more? Perhaps. Also, a lot of his running on offence gets wasted because his teammates simply don’t look for him.
- Was interesting to hear Valanciunas tell me the team played “too soft.” He has said that a few times lately. Don’t forget that the Warriors showed up the Raptors a bit in a win in Oakland earlier this season and only Casey was royally perturbed about it afterward, noting that the Raptors should mark Friday’s date in their calendar. Only Tyler Hansbrough did that, apparently.
- The first quarter was actually an improvement (defensively at least!) to what went down in Oakland, when the Warriors shot 70% and handed out 14 assists against only one turnover.
- Being selfish here, but sure hope the Warriors make it to the Finals. Not only because they are incredibly entertaining, but also because I have never been to San Francisco, because it is the most in-demand trip on the NBA beat.
- Found Steve Kerr’s comments insightful. He said that last year’s edition of the Warriors should not have been just the 12th-best offensive team in basketball with the personnel they had on hand. He sped things up – because “we don’t have Kareem or Hakeem to thrown the ball to,” Kerr said and made sure the players became far more unselfish. They now lead the league in passes per game, assists and secondary assists per game, while still dominating defensively, despite playing at an incredibly quick pace. “Teams have won that way (slowing it down), but every team has to play to its strengths and we feel that’s its strength,” he said.
- Golden State earned its fourth season series sweep (2-0) over Toronto in the last six years.