Transition offence that fueled Raptors’ winning streak culpable in Hawks loss

Title: Transition offence that fueled Raptors’ winning streak culpable in Hawks loss
Date: February 6, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ loss to the Hawks, caused in part by their continued struggles to score in transition.

It was clear the Toronto Raptors knew what they needed to do to keep up with the Atlanta Hawks: run.

The Hawks have surprised their opponents so far this year with a slightly above-average defence, and a large part of that success has come from the emphasis they put on their transition play. Even as a top-five offensive rebounding team thanks to a pair of big men who start and can vacuum up long misses, the Hawks have managed to minimize the damage done when opponents get on the break.

When they minimize the offensive glass, as they did Saturday, they should look familiar. That is the way most playoff opponents have tried to suffocate the Raptors’ offence in recent years, knowing Toronto’s ability to score on the run far exceeded its half-court success. The degree to which opponents sprinted back after their shot went up has become a nightly item tracked in our playoff Raptor Recalibrations, and in the last two years especially, the Raptors have forced tough decisions and dynamics on even the fastest defences. The identity is crystal clear under head coach Nick Nurse: Be aggressive all over the defensive end to force turnovers and run like heck to get easy buckets as a reward.

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