Title: KYLE LOWRY AND THE RAPTORS CAN’T WASTE MORE TIME ADJUSTING TO MILWAUKEE’S GAME PLAN
Date: April 17, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about the Raptors’ terrible offense in Game 1 against Milwaukee, and what needs to change.
The Toronto Raptors knew what was coming.
They had to, because the Milwaukee Bucks have been mostly unflinching in their defensive approach since Jason Kidd took over as head coach before the 2014-15 season. Prior to that, the Raptors got to know the defense orchestrated by Kidd and Sean Sweeney intimately over seven games, when the pair led the Brooklyn Nets to a tight series victory over the upstart Raptors. The Bucks, blessed with ludicrous length, offered little reason to shift the system.
Milwaukee was going to trap aggressively, blitzing the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll, overloading the strong side of the floor, and showing double-teams on post-ups and isolations. There are cracks to be exploited, with that hyper-aggression bringing with it the trade-off of scattered defensive rebounding, the need for everyone to stay on a string, and shots available from long range and at the rim when breakdowns occurred. The Bucks are dangerous on defense, but they were also middling in terms of efficiency, ranking 19th, surrendering 106.4 points per-100 possessions.
Again, the Raptors should have known what was coming, and they copped to as much.
“Not really. We expected it,” head coach Dwane Casey said after the game when asked if Milwaukee’s length surprised them. “Our spacing, how we were attacking the pick and roll, our passes, we expected. Now, a couple times they blocked a shot at the rim, that’s gonna happen.”