Title: Raptors winning despite in-game streakiness; Could Siakam-Anunoby swap help?
Date: November 24, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about the Raptors’ early penchant for blowing big leads and how a lineup tweak might help improve their in-game consistency.
It was another win for the Raptors that looked dominant through a snapshot. After losing three in a row, they’ve now won four straight, three of which were in blowout fashion. Beneath the 125-107 final score against the Wizards on Friday was something of a persistent underlying concern in an otherwise dominant start: A penchant to let teams back into games after building decisive leads.
To be clear, the Raptors exerted themselves as necessary on Friday. Messy though they are, it’s tough to blow out a team like the Wizards without the proper effort. But the Raptors could have made life easier on themselves, and it largely came down to that continued pattern of letting a team back in. In their 106-104 loss to the Pistons on Nov. 14, they led by as many as 19. In a 123-116 overtime loss to the Celtics two days later, that number reached 10. Even in Tuesday’s narrow 93-91 win over the Magic, the Raptors led by as many as 18.
Against the Wizards, the same story unfolded: The Raptors opened up a 16-point lead in the first half, then let up. Early in the third quarter, Washington took the lead. Toronto responded well in pulling back ahead by 16, then nearly let the Wizards make a game of it in the fourth quarter before finally putting things out of reach.