Raptors grinding games out, just how they like it

Title: Raptors grinding games out, just how they like it
Date: November 10, 2016
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at the Raptors slowing things down once again, their glacial pace extending to both sides of the ball.

Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey stressed the need to slow Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder down. The Thunder entered play second in the NBA with 18.6 percent of their points coming via the fast break, putting pressure on the Raptors to take care of the ball and get back in a hurry in transition.

The Raptors managed to do just that, and it was a crucial part of their 112-102 victory. They lost that plot on occasion, especially during an early run where the Thunder were sprinting off of a plethora of Toronto misses and again as the Thunder got intentionally frenetic attempting to mount a comeback, but for the most part, the Raptors played their game. The defense wasn’t outstanding thanks to a steady diet of trips to the free-throw line, but the Raptors were able to dictate the tempo of the game, controlling its flow.

With an estimated 93.5 possessions, Wednesday’s affair was almost exactly in line with the Raptors’ pace on the season (93.4) and a far cry from Oklahoma City’s normal break-neck mark (99.4). We know that the slower of two teams can dictate a game’s tempo slightly more, and while pace still grades out as fairly random game-to-game, the Raptors executed their grit-and-grind game plan well here.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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