I’m not going to go into excruciating detail in this one, but do want to highlight a couple things that you see quite often in the Raptors offense.

Rudy Gay Decision to Shoot

Couple of things about Rudy Gay who can’t manage to shoot 50% in a game to save his life.

Here’s a play early in the second half:

I don’t know if someone was supposed to set a screen on Pierce to get Gay a cleaner look than what he got, but I do know the decision to shoot when under that level of contest is a poor one. Here’s the exact moment before he gathers and launches:

At this moment, he’s decided to shoot even though Pierce is all over him and that’s totally Rudy’s bad. Take a step back, though, and see what options he has to pass to. Both bigs are covered with defenders between Gay and them, a pass to Lowry is too risky as Bradley, a good defender, will pick it off. This leaves DeRozan, who happens to be behind Gay here. Good luck finding him under the pressure from Pierce. Also, don’t discount the presence of DeRozan’s defender here on Gay, who has to be aware of him as he gathers for a shot.

As much as it is Rudy’s fault for taking such a poor shot, the position that he finds himself in and the lack of a decent outlet almost forces him to. Let me be clear: it’s Gay’s fault for taking the poor shot, all I’m saying is that it’s helped by the Raptors positioning on the court, which again, is partially caused by Gay’s decision to drive right into three defenders. This is also where a three-point threat might help. For example, if DeRozan was a respectable three-point shooter, maybe his man wouldn’t have come over to help seal Gay’s drive.

DeMar DeRozan Decision to Drive/Pass

This is an example of starting the play at the wrong spot, and ending up doing what the defense wants you to do:

DeRozan starts the pick ‘n roll way further out than what he would’ve wanted to. You can credit the Boston defense for pushing them, or more likely, it’s a lack of patience and deliberation shown by the offense as they get things going a little too prematurely. DeRozan’s weak handles betray him as on the drive he can’t blow by anyone since he has to worry about handling the ball so much that it affects the pace of his moves.

When he does get into a position of interest, i.e., the FT line, he’s doubled and his only logical outlet is Amir Johnson at exactly this point:

Gay is behind him with a defender lurking in the passing lane, and I doubt DeRozan even knows he’s there. Lowry and Gay have been stagnant for almost all of this play and are posing the Celtics defense no threat. Jonas is begging for the ball and is probably the highest percentage option here. More importantly, though, Amir Johnson is the easiest option to pass to and that’s by design. By Celtics design, that is, just look how much space Garnett is giving Johnson so he can help seal off DeRozan’s drive.

When they say “playing into the hands of the defense”, this is exactly what they mean. DeRozan passes to a poor jump shooter, probably thinking he made a play, when it’s in fact exactly what the Celtics have conceded to the Raptors and is exactly the play they’re hoping the Raptors make.

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  • smh

    oversimplified but apt

  • Jamshid

    “DeRozan passes to a poor jump shooter”
    How dare you call Amir Johnson a poor jump shooter ??!! 
    He is the MVP of this team and the most efficient offensive weapon on this team.

    • Andre

       Theres a reason they left him wide open. I’d live with amir shooting from there if i was the celtics. 57% is because he scores closer to the basket and gets the odd jumper.

    • Gerrylewarne

       He’s the most efficient weapon because the other weapons are RG and DD

  • Amir Johnson is shooting 57% from the field. That’s also Amir Johnson’s shot. It’s Johnson’s fault for missing. Amir had to long to think and started thinking instead of doing.

    Gay is going to get booed. I hope there are no Gay fan ‘Plug Heads’ that just think Gay is so fabulous
    3:46Chris Wilcox blocks Rudy Gay ‘s 2-foot layup58-68 
    3:45Raptors offensive team rebound58-68 
    3:35Jeff Green blocks Rudy Gay’s layup58-68 
    3:33Jonas Valanciunas offensive rebound58-68 
    3:32Jonas Valanciunas makes layup60-68 
    3:25Kyle Lowry shooting foul (Chris Wilcox draws the foul)60-68 
    3:25 60-68Chris Wilcox misses free throw 1 of 2
    3:25 60-68Celtics offensive team rebound
    3:25Terrence Ross enters the game for Rudy Gay60-68 
    3:25 60-68Jordan Crawford enters the game for Paul Pierce

    • Phil

      Amir Johnson is shooting 38% from 16-23 feet this year. Long jumpers are not Amir Johnson’s shot.

      •  He was wide open. He wanted the shot. It’s his shot. he was standing by
        the 3 point line for quite a moment before getting the pass. His job
        was to hit that shot during that play.

        Amir paused, got his legs into the shot. Then Amir had a thought bubble. Then he missed

      • Copywryter

        Out of curiosity, how many attempts are we talking here?

        • Nilanka15

          According the Basketball Reference, 35 makes on 99 attempts (35.4%) this season.

          • ppellico

            very cool information

        • Guest

          Hey Trevor, you fucking faggot, that salty taste in your mouth is from all the cum you swallowed last night. Stafford sucks cock!!!

      • The Truth

         Hilarious thing is that is probably a better percentage than most of our guards from the same range…

        • Phil

          Since coming to Toronto Rudy Gay is shooting 25% on shots from the same range and taking a lot more of them. (Hoopdata) So I take it all back. Shoot the lights out Amir.

      • ppellico

        thank you!!!!
        soooo tired of posters saying amir has this shot! His shot!???
        Any defending team would love to leave him have it.

  • Statler

    LOVE the ‘breaking it down’ posts, keep em coming.

    I didn’t think the DD play was that bad though. If the defense chooses to double, you find the open man – demar does just that. If anyone deserves any blame on that play it’s Amir, who should have taken a couple extra steps into the open space and gotten himself to a spot on the floor where he’s actually a reliable shooter (provided he has the required 6 seconds to load up, which on this play with KG completely abandoning him, he did).

    The Gay play was brutal though. The worst part of it was his choice to fade…with Pierce crowding him, if you’re going to force that shot you have to go straight up and try to draw the foul. He doesn’t. Boneheaded move. If you reverse this play and it’s Gay guarding Pierce, there’s a 100% chance Pierce finds a way to get to the charity stripe.

    I watched the game (well, the first 2.5 quarters) from the Boston feed. Their color guy said that Demar needs to start watching film of Pierce. Completely agree, and the same applies to Rudy.

    Anyway like I said really love the breaking it downs, hopefully we see more of them. Would actually love to see one highlighting the raps stupidly ignoring JV’s awesome hard cuts off the PnR

    • Nilanka15

      Was thinking the same thing about Amir’s spacing.  He could’ve spotted up a few steps closer.

      • Jamshid

        There is reason Amir is that far out. He needs a long time to load up 🙂 and if he is 2-3 feet closer to the basket, 2 things may happen:

        1) Defender knows that he can hit that shot and will play him tighter from the get go.
        2) Defender can close up on him after the pass much faster and hence, he does not have the time to set up for that shot 🙂

        This is why limited offensive player like Amir are handicap on the offensive end. As you can see, Celtics are comfortable leaving him out there and make the space tight for DD. They basically know that if they keep Amir limited to that area, then he is useless. 

        • Nilanka15

          Everyone on this team is a “limited offensive player” 😛

          • what the

            thats not what you said when your boy gary forbes was here

    • Roarque

      Hate to say it but if that’s Bargs instead of Amir then it’s two points or it’s KG needing to hedge more towards Bargs. My point is that the old Bargs would have been useful ( and could still be useful) and the Raps need to think about getting more deep threats into their Offensive arsenal for 2013/14

      • arsenalist

        True, but with Bargs on the next play the Celtics get two offensive rebounds.  Just j/k Barg fans, I’m sure he can be useful to this team.  Well, he has to be because he’s going nowhere next season (unless they amnesty him).

  • c_bcm

    very nice. Offensive sets this year have been an embarrassment, at least according to the eye test. I actually turned the game on just when that Rudy Gay play happened. I promptly decided I had better things to do, and watched my cat chase its tail for the rest of the night.

  • robertparrish00

    the other thing I notice on quite a regular basis is the lack of defined roles. 
    You saw it when bargs played and with Amir and JV.  They have been switched so often in and out of the centre position no one knows what is going on.

    That leads to my favourite Raps offensive move, the double screen.  Where both centre and PF set the same screen, on the same side at the same time on the opposing PG.

    • Nilanka15

      At first I thought you referring to a “staggered” screen, but then realized you meant the dreaded “screen sandwich”.

      • ezz_bee

        aka the “Night at the Roxbury” manouver

      • Nilanka’s Father

        He said 2 on the same side.

        Not a sandwich you dummy

  • Andre

    in Gay’s defense, the play wasnt run right. There was 6s left on the shot clock and no one was open. If you noticed when he got the ball, and drove to the basket, AMIR was in his way, which made him stop his dribble because the spacing wasnt there. all amir had to do was STAY where he was and set a pick, where there would be a mis match and give gay enough space for a higher percentage shot and put amir in position to get an offensive rebound or recieve a pass from gay. That comes with experience playing with the dude.

    As for Derozen, i blame the PG. He gave it up to amir for a play. Then he clears the space. Jonas came WAY to quick to derozens spot which clogged up the area forcing derozen out. At this point, the PG should have REliezed what happened, and tell Gay to pick his man to go back for the ball to reset the play. second, when derozen got the ball he waited, but in the time of waiting he MADE up his mind he was going to take the shot and commited to it. Jonas roll beautifully to the net, he should have passed it.

    Sigh. They need a better offense that allows them to be constantly moving. With an athletic team like this, no one should be standing still.

  • Roarque

    BTW – thanks for taking the time to do this show and tell.
    Very informative for we of low basketball IQ,

  • FAQ

    Are you suggesting that there is poor basketball IQ in this TRap roster, individually and collectively … offensively, and defensively too?

  • gradgrind101

    I agree… Boston put some pressure on the ball and RG didn’t see the defense underneath before he drove to the paint. But in Amir’s case instead of shooting he should have run the lane for an alley oop… Take a closer look AJ had a lot of room and no one closed out. I don’t understand why he didn’t take the lane. Overall these are examples of a team who gave up. They weren’t actively spacing. To me they look like they aren’t motivated to play. The fourth quarter yesterday was ugly. 

  • The problem for the Demar’s decision is not on Demar. It is on Amir Johnson. Demar attract double team and pass the ball to Amir. Thus, Amir is not a good 20ft jumper shooter, he should pass the ball back to Demar where Demar is at the 3pt shooting range. You can see the defense from Boston was breaking down, and all the players are in the paint waiting for rebound.
    If Amir passes the ball to Demar, Demar will have at least a second to pull out a clean look 3 pointer or 20 footer.