The Toronto Raptors are the NBA champions after defeating the Utah Jazz with a score of 116-92 in Game 7. The series was an intense one, but two key takeaways from this lopsided loss will help keep them focused on defending their title next season.
The “utah jazz vs suns” is a game that was played on December 29, 2018. The Toronto Raptors lost by a lopsided margin of 100-87. Two key takeaways from the game are discussed below.
Unfortunately for Toronto Raptors fans, their game against the Utah Jazz did not provide much entertainment.
The Raptors came apart early against the Utah Jazz (by all accounts a very fine basketball team) on the opening night of yet another back-to-back (why does it seem like there have been 15 of these already? ), and were never fully able to recover.
Scottie Barnes told reporters after the loss, “You just have to take it one game at a time.” “Continue to do all you can to win.”
For those keeping score at home, the Raptors are now on a three-game losing run, dropping them two games below.500 and improving their road record to 5-3.
There are just two important lessons from this one, given that it was an obviously mediocre night. They are as follows:
Defensive detonation by the Raptors
The Raptors’ hyper-aggressive defensive approach has gotten a lot of attention this season, and the debate over whether they can turn things around or continue down the downward spiral they’ve started will undoubtedly continue.
The problems were clear early on against the Jazz: Toronto (notably missing OG Anunoby and, therefore, a significant piece in their often switchy scheme) attempted trapping almost everything—not just big players like Rudy Gobert under the rim, but guards and wings up high on the perimeter as well. Utah had little issue passing out of those coverages, and once that occurred, the Raptors were in rotation, flailing and failing to stop Jazz shots.
“They’re a terrific squad,” Malachi Flynn remarked, “and they began hitting shots.” “They went on a bit of a tear and began hitting a few in a row, and it got a little out of hand.”
The concept behind the defense was sound—the Raptors were out there with less choices than normal when it came to dealing with opposition bigs, so they tried to use their length and collective positional size to force mistakes early and frequently in the hopes of creating transition chances.
And it’s not like the approach didn’t work out. Toronto did manage to force 25 Jazz turnovers, which resulted in 37 points.
But it wasn’t enough because the Raptors’ defense, for the most part, wasn’t cohesive enough. Communication seems to be a work in progress, which is a huge concern when all five people need to be on the same page for such a risky scam. There simply cannot be recurrent leaks from possession to possession, since this would lead to the ship sinking.
“Obviously, they scored a lot of baskets near the rim today,” head coach Nick Nurse said, “and they also hit it quite well from three.” This is a strong shooting squad that is very difficult to defend. But we didn’t protect the rim well enough, or at the very least wrap them up and force them to shoot free throws or whatever. But I believe the players were attempting to execute the plan, and we just missed a couple coverages, which they made us pay for.”
The Raptors kept opponents to less than 50 percent shooting in their first ten games. Four of their previous six opponents have shot more than 50% since then.
Toronto prides itself on being a defense-first team, and it has a plethora of outstanding defensive players. But, for different reasons, things aren’t coming together right now.
Roll Threat, Birch
It’s usually a good idea to take away at least one positive element from every game. Even on the darkest of nights, there are rays of light, and this one was no exception.
While Khem Birch’s foul issues and Nurse’s hunt for defensive solutions both contributed to his playing less minutes in the second half, he did show some pretty amazing things on the short roll over the opening two frames.
Birch has been a strong passer in that situation all season, and he continued to do so against the Jazz, receiving the ball on the roll and spraying the ball outside on point if he spotted an opportunity to the wing or corner, rotating the defense and helping generate excellent looks.
Most notably, when Utah started to play him for the pass, he quickly established himself as a real scoring threat, scoring 14 points in only 24 minutes. Despite the fact that he isn’t big enough to be a conventional bruiser (even with a physical game), he took advantage of the defense waiting for him at the rim and took a slew of floaters that he easily knocked down.
Birch isn’t a starter-level center, but he’s a capable big man who continues to provide the Raptors with valuable minutes when he’s on the court, which is all anybody can ask for.
The “Toronto Raptors” is one of the most successful teams in the NBA. They have had a lot of success over the past few years, but they came up short against the Utah Jazz on Friday night. In this article, I will go over 2 key takeaways from Toronto’s lopsided loss to Utah. Reference: new raptors.
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