Title: Raptor Recalibration, Game 2: A plan for Siakam, series comeback odds, more
Date: September 2, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, my playoff day-after playoff column looked at the Raptors 0-2 hole to the Celtics and ways they can get back on track.
Sometimes, games and even series come down to literal fractions of an inch. A fourth bounce off the rim that drops a ball into the net. A buzzer-beater that catches just enough of an opponent’s fingertip. A heel that touches just out of bounds along the sideline.
It was a fraction of an inch on a key late-game possession that now has the Toronto Raptors staring up from a miles-deep series hole against the Boston Celtics. The 102-99 Game 2 loss on Tuesday did not come down to just one play, but Pascal Siakam’s heel touching the sideline on a pivotal possession with 32 seconds to go delivered the final blow.
It’s a reminder of just how much has to go right to win games deeper into the playoffs, and just how little has to go wrong to lose them. The margins are slim, such that debatable late-game offence, Marc Gasol fouling out, or a second game in a row of unfortunate shooting variance can make for a 2-0 series. Every little potential advantage or disadvantage is magnified. It’s the entire point of these morning-after breakdowns, to find where the Raptors could have done just a little better to insulate themselves from cold shooting, a bad bounce or a shoe one size too big.
The Raptors have been here before, of course, coming back from the same deficit in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. They’ll need every heel to land inbounds to do it again.
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.