Title: Raptors Tactical: Signs of improvement despite near-collapse in Orlando
Date: November 21, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I broke down the final plays of the Raptors’ narrow win over Orlando, as well as some other tactical tweaks and necessary adjustments from here.
The Toronto Raptors have a clutch execution under their belts now.
Sure, it came after they blew an 18-point lead to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday and nearly had to go to overtime to escape with the win, but they managed on a last-second bucket. Considering they’d lost a one-possession game to the Detroit Pistons and an overtime game to the Boston Celtics in the last week, both which had some shaky decision-making and execution in the final minutes, this was likely a breath of fresh air. Am I suggesting Nick Nurse had his team blow the lead intentionally to get more crunch-time reps? Absolutely. Real eyes realize real lies.
Eric Koreen spoke with several key actors about the game’s final play last night, so I’ll try not to overlap. The play design is worth a closer look, though, especially because it underscores some improvements from the process side all game for Nurse and the Raptors. Tie game, shot clock off, the Raptors didn’t go back to a somewhat rote isolation call, instead using the limited time to draw up a catch-and-shoot along the baseline for Danny Green.
There seemed to be some confusion after the game as to who was the primary option on this play. Green referred to not normally being the first option, while Nurse and Kyle Lowry both made it seem like he was the first choice for Lowry’s initial pass. As we’ll see, Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard and Lowry himself as the trigger-man — the inbounder is the most dangerous player on the floor! — all could have been options if Green’s look didn’t materialize as it did.