Title: Celtics matchup chance for Raptors to experiment with lineup
Date: December 9, 2016
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at smaller lineups the Raptors could experiment with, and why Boston’s a good team to try it against.
For about seven minutes on Thursday, the Raptors went small against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Not incredibly small, or anything, but they shifted DeMarre Carroll to the power forward position and opted to keep a lone traditional big man on the floor. With the Wolves deploying Nemanja Bjelica alongside Cole Aldrich, Dwane Casey wanted a little more flexibility to switch, something he’s done fairly often this season, as the Raptors have now played 28 minutes with a wing as the de facto power forward.
It worked pretty well. Small chunks of play are hard to evaluate, but the Raptors outscored the Wolves by three points in those seven minutes, and it bought Patrick Patterson some important rest ahead of an end-of-game matchup with Karl-Anthony Towns. For the season, the Raptors are a shade above even playing this way. It isn’t new, either – before he was injured a season ago, Carroll sliding to the four appeared to be (and was, in a small sample) a means of the Raptors unlocking their best closing lineup, allowing Cory Joseph to get on the floor with the starters.