Title: Examining the Raptors’ late-game strategy against the Cavaliers
Date: March 22, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I analyzed some of the Raptors’ late-game decision-making against the Cavaliers.
If the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers meet and play seven games anything close to that good, we’re all going to be quite spoiled sometime in May. The collective may also be dealing with some blood pressure issues and a lot of grey hairs.
There are a lot of qualifiers and caveats around Wednesday’s game, chief among them that the Cavaliers were undermanned and the Raptors were plenty fatigued, and so the end result — another loss in crunch time, dropping the Raptors to 23-15 and back to 16th in clutch net rating — is not worth stressing about too much. The game was low-leverage for the Raptors beyond perhaps the psychological, and as a result, they can take the game as a learning experience, finding ways to improve for a third meeting in two weeks and as many as seven more sometime after that. I don’t really understand the “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” saying, but I think it applies here for those waving off the game as unrepresentative of what future meetings will look like.
If there was a concern, it was once again the late-game execution, something that’s improved as the year’s gone on and still occasionally rears its head. Dwane Casey made some solid adjustments and some very nice play-calls throughout the game, and that included the “clutch” portion of the game. Still, there are a few moments from the stretch run that feel worth highlighting as worthy of further examination from a strategic perspective.