10 observations: DeMar DeRozan shines as Raptors find the three-ball in Utah

Title: 10 observations: DeMar DeRozan shines as Raptors find the three-ball in Utah
Date: November 3, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I provided some observations from the Raptors victory over the Jazz.

It makes all the sense in the world that on a night when the Toronto Raptors were down sharpshooter C.J. Miles, their three-point shots fell at a decent clip Friday. It was a good canary in the coal mine for some overall regression, too, as the Raptors bounced back from their worst outing of the season to top the Utah Jazz 109-100 in a spirited and encouraging effort.

Miles was quarantined from shootaround earlier Friday with an illness and was held out of the lineup as a result. Shooting 39 per cent on 5.9 attempts per-game so far this year, Miles is one of the only thing the Raptors have had going for them as they look to ratchet up their volume from outside. Non-Miles Raptors entered play shooting 28.9 per cent on threes and a seemingly impossible 29.5 per cent on threes classified as wide open (no defender within six feet, as tracked by SportVu, per NBA.com). Against one of the league’s elite defences, one that cuts down on corner threes and employs one of the league’s best rim-protectors, this seemed like a poor formula.

Some well-timed regression helped, and the Raptors shot a respectable 11-for-30 from long-range, good for their second-best three-point shooting night of the season at 36.7 per cent. Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka both hit a pair, Kyle Lowry went 3-for-6 as he continues to find his stroke, and OG Anunoby hit one without his customary first-attempt air-ball.

And yes, there was some non-regression variance, too, as DeMar DeRozan hit triples in triplicate, one of them falling and one of them a four-point play. It marks only the 17th time in DeRozan’s career he’s hit three threes in a game and only the fifth time he’s attempted seven or more. He’s now 5-for-16 on the season, an encouraging small sample.

The three-ball remains unpredictable.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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