Title: Raptor Recalibration, Game 5: Zone defence, trying the bench and more
Date: September 8, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, my playoff day-after playoff column broke down the Raptors getting blown out again to fall behind 3-2 to the Celtics.
Well, that’s certainly one way to correct course from heavy usage for the team’s top players.
Instead of riding their top four for 40-plus minutes again in Game 5 on Monday, the Toronto Raptors instead bowed out early, turning the second half into a low-context experiment in score effects. The 111-89 loss was ugly. The faintest glimmer of positivity is that nobody on a pretty exhausted team had to play more than 34 minutes.
I sit down to recalibrate here knowing it will likely be the least-read recalibration of this playoff run. Still, that the Raptors have backed themselves into a very difficult corner puts extra emphasis on what they can control on Wednesday for Game 6. A blowout offers less useful information than games two through four. It’s information nonetheless, though, and the Raptors desperately need to figure out how Boston has now pounced on them twice in five games.
It’s a long road back. Again. Teams losing Game 5 of a tied series are 37-173 all-time and 0-2 in the bubble, and the Raptors opened as 2.5-point underdogs for Game 6. The odds are still greater than zero, and so they trudge on.