Raptors show defensive upside with grimy throwback victory against Magic

Title: Raptors show defensive upside with grimy throwback victory against Magic
Date: October 29, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ potentially elite defense lifting them to victories while their offense figures things out.

The expansion Toronto Raptors scored 103.8 points per 100 possessions. If you are yet to adjust your baseline for offensive performances from points per game to a possession-based number, that was bad for the league environment in 1995-96, ranking 26th out of 29 offences. It was, as you might expect if your memory of the franchise’s once-moribund history remains sharp, bad.

On the first of many throwback nights the Raptors will host this year to celebrate their 25th season, their offensive performance Monday was a fitting tribute.

Don’t let the final in a 104-95 victory over the Orlando Magic confuse things. Scoring 104 points in 1995-96 would have been a notable mark, but that’s not the case in 2019-20. The Raptors’ existence has coincided with a shift in the league’s scoring atmosphere, to where those 104 points now denote a shaky scoring night. While scoring has increased by 11.7 points per team per game over the past 25 seasons and 3-point volume has more than doubled, a spike in the pace of play has been at the root. Even in last year’s record-setting offensive environment, teams scored only three points more per 100 possessions than in the Raptors’ inaugural year.

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