Title: Lowry-to-Birch, Anunoby offense, a bench trio; The Raptors might finally have a bit of rotation stability
Date: April 26, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors getting a rare semblance of stability in their rotation at a very necessary juncture.
If the Cavaliers were going to make the Raptors sweat down the stretch, they needed a basket on this possession. A Brodric Thomas 3 had gotten the lead back down to 14. That’s a large gap to make up in three minutes, not an impossible one. Score again quickly, and the Raptors at least have to keep their top players on the floor.
The responsibility fell to Damyean Dotson to create that bucket. The Cavs only had nine bodies on the second night of a back-to-back, and the smothering Raptors defence had done a great job getting the ball out of lead guard Darius Garland’s hands with the exception of a few tough late-clock floaters. Kevin Love had basically tapped out with a remarkably reckless turnover late in the third quarter that led to a 5-0 Malachi Flynn run in four seconds. (That’s becoming a signature.) And so Dotson, he of the 48.5-percent true-shooting mark on the year, had to make something happen.
If Dotson’s odds of coming through seemed long in a vacuum, they seemed infinitesimal when OG Anunoby took the assignment. Anunoby is one of the league’s deadliest and most versatile defenders. Dotson’s jabs and hesitations did little. He was bottled up, and the tiny glimpse of space he got before the clock expired was erased by Anunoby reaching back from behind him to knock his shot away.