Title: How the Raptors are trying to guard J.J. Redick and why Joel Embiid complicates it
Date: May 7, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about how the Raptors are trying to handle a difficult J.J. Redick matchup and why Joel Embiid’s presence makes a certain two-man game so hard to handle.
Brett Brown saw enough in the first two minutes of Game 4 to use a timeout and settle things down. The Raptors had opened a 7-4 lead thanks to a few transition opportunities and, wanting to get his team back on the right foot before Toronto picked up momentum in the game or, worse, the series, Brown called for a quick chat.
The play that followed was a sharp quick-hitter that promptly tied the game. Most teams have a full-court play they can use for a quick three – the Raptors used theirs for Danny Green against Orlando– and the 76ers employ one of the better 3-point threats in the league in J.J. Redick. Here, Ben Simmons engages in a slingshot inbound to Redick, and then Redick tails Simmons for when he draws extra attention in transition, waiting for a pass as the trailer.
The Raptors have done a decent job against Redick at times in this series for the most part, but this play highlights the number of ways in which he can hurt a team. His shooting always has to be accounted for, and because the 76ers have so many threats elsewhere, defences are constantly left to balance sticking tight to Redick in all situations while also sending help where necessary at the other four matchups. It’s one area the Raptors could stand to be a little better in over the next two or three games to further sharpen what’s been a very good defence so far.