Raptors fight off attack again against Mavericks – .

Raptors fight off attack again against Mavericks – .

Here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ 103-95 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
1. It’s no secret that the Raptors are weak on offense. They played enough defense to go 3-0 at the start of the year, but their offense was incompetent in two of the first three games. This is where Pascal Siakam misses the team the most, because as much as fans have been disappointed with his performance since the start of the pandemic, the simple fact is that he is Toronto’s best offensive player. He puts pressure on the edge, he commands doubles teams, he hits the line and when he’s on the ground everyone can settle into more comfortable roles as side players. Truth be told, the Raptors would still be average in attacking half court with Siakam, but even average they would be undefeated to begin with.

2. Dallas found the opposite of Toronto’s strategy. By giving the ball to Luka Doncic on every run, slowing the game to a breakneck pace and letting Doncic handle it at the top of the floor, the Raptors just couldn’t create the kind of havoc they are counting on. to fuel their transition game. . The Raptors forced Dallas to just nine team turnovers, which limited their transition opportunities where they scored a meager 12 points from quick break. It’s not like the Raptors didn’t know about it, as they tried different ploys like trapping Doncic or pressing all over the pitch, but the MVP candidate expertly split the home team each time. that he was trying to fool him. The good thing is that most teams don’t have as effective singular talent as Doncic, so they will still be able to use their defense to complement their weak attacking.

3. It would be interesting to play against Dallas with a good team. The only way teams have slowed Doncic was to play five wings at once and change everything – this is how the LA Clippers beat them twice in the playoffs – and the Raptors have the staff to do it. With a healthy Siakam and Yuta Watanabe at their disposal, the Raptors could have eliminated the two weakest points in their defense – Goran Dragic and Khem Birch – and moved on to a smallball formation. Dallas doesn’t have any one-on-one creators outside of Doncic, and their greats aren’t skilled enough to punish the lags, so the change allows you to keep Doncic in mind. And of course, he’ll probably have another 30 points against that strategy, but you can survive that as long as he doesn’t also contribute double-digit assists.

4. OG Anunoby is finally here, at least for the first half. Anunoby was a one-man demolition team to start, throwing a two-handed jam at seven-foot-three-inch Kristaps Porzingis, cleverly slicing through the back door for a layup, hitting in a mid-range shot and sinking. a pair of corner threes all in the first quarter. Anunoby did the right readings, resisting the temptation to force his shot, and his efficiency skyrocketed from the 3-for-17 and 4-for-18 performances he produced earlier in the week. However, Anunoby encountered two issues. First, he struggled through trouble as a number of light calls hit him which limited his minutes and reduced his aggressiveness. Second, the Mavericks did a much better job denying him the ball in the second half, which made him passive and out of the game. As with previous games, finding the right balance will take time.

5. Scottie Barnes waited too long to take over. Similar to Anunoby, Barnes also battled fouling issues, which come with territory being assigned to Doncic cover, and this limited his time with a minor quadruple bruise that briefly sent him back to the locker room. Still, the Raptors were badly in need of an offensive spark, and Barnes proved capable towards the end of the fourth. Barnes had the play of the game where he decisively attacked the basket, easily passing his man before exploding for a two-handed jam, and he was generally able to work his way to the basket with a handful of d ‘other movements. Barnes is humble, and this is only his third professional game, he hasn’t wanted to call his own number yet, but the Raptors should give him permission to try, especially if they need it during the absence of Siakam. Barnes is already physical enough to reach his points and showed good touch and length to pull off his shots from the basket. Why not establish him from the start as one of the focal points of the offense, instead of waiting for the second half?

6. Nick Nurse put Chris Boucher on the bench in the second half. This was not without reason, as Boucher’s shot selection was even worse than usual as he made five shots in eight minutes. Nurse was blunt in his post-game assessment, saying Boucher needs to “play better, period”, which is really long and short. Boucher is the team’s fourth-longest starting player, and he’s been productive in previous seasons, but he hasn’t provided the offensive spark the Raptors needed on the bench. Boucher was determined in his push to score, even going so far as to throw pick and rolls and shoot on the move, which are not his strengths. The lack of a goal off the bench was one of the main reasons the Raptors lost.

7. Dragic was invisible on the bench. In fairness to the veteran, he usually needs a big boner to team up in pick-and-roll streaks, and Boucher has struggled with Birch just not qualified enough to be too. involved offensively, but it’s also on Dragic. He didn’t show the desire or willingness to go for it, opting largely for flip jumpers or reset attack when it’s really his job to create. He’s capable of a lot more than he’s shown so far, and although he’s only been here temporarily due to accounting in Kyle Lowry’s business, he’s still in a contract year. It is mutually beneficial for Dragic to be successful.

8. And if he doesn’t, it won’t be long before Nurse turns to Malachi Flynn. The Raptors were badly needed to score in two of their three games, but Flynn was hooked to the bench. There is no loyalty due to Dragic beyond the standard respect you give a veteran, which should cover him for a few weeks, but it is not okay for Dragic to eat away at a younger player’s development time. if he contributes to victories. . Flynn isn’t perfect on his own, but he’s shown in fits and starts that he’s capable of pulling his own shot and at least deserves a chance to try. Flynn’s only downside is that he’s small and can only play the part, but it’s also not like Dragic has done much to stop anyone.

9. Dragic spent most of the pre-game discussion with the Mavericks. It was first with the gentle giant Boban Marjanovic, then it was a long conversation with assistant Igor Kokoskov, who led Slovenia to their last Eurobasket victory with Dragic at the helm, then he was greeted by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, before finally cutting it. with Doncic. These interactions lasted over an hour and it is obvious that he cares a lot for a lot. There’s nothing wrong with it all, but it seems clear why all reports suggest Dragic will end up in Dallas sooner or later.

10. The Raptors would benefit greatly from having a cross that can stretch the ground. This has been evident in all three games where the Raptors had to smash a packed paint as there is no one the opposing teams will keep beyond the paint. Precious Achiuwa is too inconsistent from the depths, Boucher just throws more than anything else, and no one cares the least that Birch hits the occasional glance from the corner. The answer for Nurse might be to downsize completely and play without a cross, although that would still require one more wing to be healthy between Watanabe and Siakam. Beyond that, there are simply no great options on this list and will have to be addressed through trade.


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