Title: Raptor Recalibration, Game 1: Going zone, Celtics backup C minutes and more
Date: August 31, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, my playoff day-after playoff column looked at a pretty unsightly Game 1 for the Raptors against the Celtics.
The Toronto Raptors are 11-2 in the NBA’s relaunch. They are 11-0 against most of the league and 0-2 against the Boston Celtics. Both of those defeats, one in the reseeding games and their 112-94 Game 1 loss Sunday, have been emphatic.
It has understandably caused some concern. Do the Celtics have the Raptors’ number? Is it just a bad matchup for the defending champions? Can things turn around? The answer to all of those questions is “we’ll see.” Nick Nurse has expertly adjusted between games over the last two years and should be given the chance to tweak the game plan for Tuesday. Punting a game in a tight series is still concerning, though. And it’s not all shooting variance.
Just how close does this series figure to be? Well, on top of being a 65-35 proposition at strongest based on oddsmaker lines and model projections, a Game 1 Boston victory has put the Raptors in the underdog spot. They’ve gone from -140 series favourites (and as far as -150) to +155, and Jacob Goldstein’s model has moved the Raptors from a 62 percent chance at winning the series to 45 percent. Winning the series remains well within the realm of possibility, this only stands to highlight how narrow the margins for error are here.
As established by now, the morning after each playoff game, we’ll reconvene here to try to sort through all of it. We’ll look at key plays, key statistical trends, the major between-games adjustments, coaching decisions and whatever else strikes me as noteworthy.