Dwane Casey on the performance of his team: "I can't say enough good things about those guys cause it's going to take all of us, especially with Patrick being out"

So this is the moment of truth. Pivotal Game 4, either you tie this series back up and steal Mother Momentum back, or you go into the backs-to-the-wall situation that is a 1-3 deficit. The good news is that the Raptors know what they did wrong in the two losses, the bad news is that they haven’t been able to do anything about it.

Take Terrence Ross as an example, he’s been a key part of the rotation since the trade and has supplied three-point shooting and defense all season. He shot 39.5% from three during the season (he’s 11% in the playoffs) and is termed as our best wing defender. It’s safe to suggest that he’s a critical piece of the 48-win season that the Raptors have mustered up. In the playoffs, though, he’s been a write-off for two reasons.

First, let’s focus on his defense. Joe Johnson has 45 pounds on him, and Paul Pierce has 40, both have an inch as well. Both Nets swingmen possess enough moves in their arsenal that they can get Ross onto his backfoot very early in the possession, leaving the sophomore in recovery positions much sooner than he’d like to be. It’s negated his quickness advantage and forced him to defend while off-balance, more looking to avoid the foul than contest the shot. It’s a scary situation for Ross, who is generally used to guarding guys in a face-up stance away from the rim, for example pressuring point guards (remember, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving).

While being charged with tough defensive assignments, Ross has a natural tendency to play the passing lanes, often probing the strong side for potential pick-off opportunities. He’s not a defender who stays home, but one that hunts. This has been problematic as we saw in Game 3, Ross was burned multiple times by Johnson on threes as he was late on the close-out after helping without really needing to help in other areas of the court. When in 1-one-1 situations, the Nets have done very well to isolate Johnson on him, and plan well against potential double-team threats. The doubles, when they have come, have resulted in the Nets kicking off a sequence of passes which lead to a good shot, rather than scampering for cover and protection.

More from RR on Game 3:

Ross is presently stuck in the middle of trying to guard his checks (unsuccessfully), while resisting the urges to roam. It’s a learning experience for Ross, who this series has presented with a first-time opportunity to showcase his defensive skill. It hasn’t happened so far, partially due to his bulk disadvantage, and partially resulting from his natural tendencies to sway away from his man to the strong side, resulting in Landry Fields and John Salmons seeing the light of day.  Ross simply needs to improve defensively so he can stay on the floor more, and do better at shooting threes.  He’s playing everyone too tight and they just go by him in slow motion. Even the angles he’s giving up to Johnson and Pierce aren’t ideal, with neither end up having to go left to get their points.

Second, shaken defensively, his minutes have been affected and his offense impacted.  After averaging 31, 26, and 28 regular season minutes February, March and April, respectively, he’s only played 21 minutes in the playoffs.  He’s simply not on the court enough to make an impact.  To compound matters, the Raptors are not moving the ball. They’ve had more turnovers than assists over the three games, and a player like Ross who is reliant on his offense being created for him is left waiting. When he does get the ball, the Nets’ strategy of congesting the paint rather than trying to keep up with quicker players on the perimeter means that Ross is left to attack a sagging, stand-still defense. With his jumper not falling and his sheer reluctance for contact in the paint, his offensive contributions have become limited.

To counter turnovers and jitters, Casey has increases his trust in the three-guard lineup of Lowry and DeRozan with Vasquez, with the latter providing a level of composure that has been welcome.  Vasquez has seen his minutes rise from his regular season average of 23 to 27, partially at the expense of Ross.  Whereas DeRozan provides sufficient offense creation, albeit inefficient at times, to warrant minutes, and can create from a unused dribble Ross does not.

Another guy having an absolute nightmare of a series is Amir Johnson, yet nobody seems to be talking about it since he’s become a bit of a media darling.  It also helps his public relations cause that his misfortunes aren’t his fault.  He’s lately found guarding guys he has no business guarding, followed by a spell where’s he’s wiping the floor with his jersey.  Much like Dwane Casey hasn’t been able to utilize Ross’ quickness advantage to any degree, the same can be said of Johnson’s size.  For all that it’s worth, Ross my as well be Mark Jackson-slow, and Johnson may as well be be 5’4″, and they’d have the same impact on the series.

The Raptors are neither here nor there – they haven’t been able to adapt to Brooklyn’s small ball (my suggestion is to bench Johnson in favor of Patterson, and play the former against Plumlee), nor have they imposed their size advantage when the Nets are playing small ball.  What we are doing is playing into the Nets’ hands by continually taking jumpers, not running enough sets for Valanciunas, and not involving Amir Johnson at all in the offense.  Defensively, he hasn’t had a chance to play at his position so one can’t quite judge him there.

I fished out this comment by Coach, which pretty much sums it up better than I can:

Casey supposedly the defensive mind behind Dallas’ championship team. Hard to believe from this showing. How the f**k do you let Pierce, Johnson and Williams all shoot above 50% when none of them average above 45% on the season? Time and time again all 3 blow by their defenders. And we’re supposedly the younger team.

Williams has legit handles and Lowry’s doing the best he can.

We play Johnson so stupidly. Whoever’s on him gets too tight and Johnson slowly blows by him after lulling him to sleep with the set up dribble. Guy falls behind slightly and Johnson floater. Same thing for 3 f**king  games. I haven’t seen Johnson make a shot with a hand in his face yet. We need to back off slightly and see if he can make a contested shot with a hand in his face. I’d take that over the blowby anyday.

Pierce keeps seeing Patterson/Amir on him, and has been abusing. Amir fell to the floor for the countlessth time trying to keep up with him. Patterson and Amir aren’t taking advantage of Pierce on the other end so why play them?! Just adapt to small ball, or figure out a way to make them pay for going small.

That last sentence is basically it: Adapt to small ball, or figure out a way to make them pay for going small.

Casey has done neither.  The Nets have played all their cards, we’ve seen what they got and the verdict is that they’re beatable.  So far the Raptors have won a game playing the game on the Nets’ terms, which is quite impressive on its own.  However, that’s not a sustainable plan to win the series.  Casey has enough data, empirical and statistical evidence, and should have enough to counter the Nets’ very mitigable threats.  As the above comment so eloquently points out, there’s no reason guys like Johnson, Pierce, and Williams should be getting uncontested shots with the ease they’ve been getting it.  It’s up to Casey to counter, and three games should be enough for him to make his play, and if his play is more of the same, then the Raptors are in trouble.  His play should start with figuring out why 40% of his starting lineup – Johnson and Ross – have been reduced to nothingness, and how he can make such capable players produce within the constraints imposed by the series.

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  • hotfuzz

    Need a lineup change. Especially the D on JJ.

    How about putting DD on Pierce and then Amir on JJ? Ross has to benched at this point.

    • RobertArchibald

      I’ve been screaming for Amir on JJ since before the series started. Amir is our best help defender and since our guys are playing way too tight on the outside, they’re getting burned and Amir is too far away to provide help. These matchups Casey is throwing out there make zero sense. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams are the ONLY 2 players beating us. We are overplaying everywhere. Too tight on the perimeter, helping early and in spots we don’t need to, and chasing the Nets all over the court. Pack the paint, make them shoot contested jumpers and the series is ours in 6. Williams is a good open shooter, poor contested shooter. Johnson may get his, but that’s fine. He’s too passive to put up 50 on us. Give him 30 every game, I don’t care. Dare the rest of the team to try and beat you, it’s not gonna happen.

      • Gary Gill

        Totally agree. I haven’t seen jj shoot a contested shot. Everything’s like a floater in the lane.

  • Captain_Dog

    How about we move GV and Pat Man to the starting lineup?

    G: Lowry
    G: GV
    F: DD
    F: PP
    C: JV

    That could work, also, T-Ross and Amir would then be playing people that they can hopefully destroy in the 2nd unit (Thornton and Plumlee respectively).

    Just a thought. I think Amir would be accept being a 6th man for the betterment of the team, but I worry that T-Ross may take it the wrong way and regress further…

  • Phat AlberG

    Amir Johnson is overrated! He needs to go!

    • Ted

      Amir seems to be playing hurt. Hes lost a step or two and lacks the confidence and aggressiveness he had earlier in the season. Hes been banged up all season and yet continued to play and now its hurting us.

      Casey needs to replace him with 2Pat and let Amir come of the bench

      • Cansense

        Why didn’t Casey rest Amir earlier and let him heal? I never understood that.

        • Ted

          When Pops, JKidd and other playoff teams were resting players Casey was running Amir to the ground and letting Lowry and Derozan play 35+mins.
          In the end we are left facing the Nets, the worst possible matchup.

    • the dude

      Brooklyn is a tough matchup for Amir. He can’t guard Johnson or Pierce away from the basket. Their quickness kills him. He needs to be more of an interior presence for the Raps, but Brooklyn goes small most of the time leaving him in no man’s land.

      • Phat AlberG

        Dude Amir Johnson is so weak he can’t even post up Paul Pierce, that is brutal. Right now I will Start Patterson, and drop Amir to the bench

        • noname

          amir does need to be benched, but not for the reasons you stated. I already posted what I think should be the starting lineup.

        • Gary Gill

          Yeah Amir should be Atleast posting up pierce.

    • noname

      huh, he has been grinding it out for this team all year; fuck he hit the game winning shot that sent us to the playoffs, been our best interior defender; but because he suffers from matchup problems against BK, and because he’s playing injured, we forget about everything he’s done for us and give him shit. You should be ashamed.

      • Phat AlberG

        Dude Amir Johnson is the weakest power forward in the league, he’s gets run over all the time and never plays with intensity. Raptors love this guy because he loves the city, but he has played wit zero passion in 3 games. Honestly if you had to choose between Amir or Patterson who are you keeping?

        • jjdynomite

          I was at Game 2 live, apparently as opposed to you, and Amir did not play with “zero passion in 3 games”. He scored 16 and 9, with 2 massive blocks to stop Nets runs in the 1st half, and a dunk off an in-bounds play to seal the win.

          So, since you are obviously basing your worthless comments on the most recent game played, you have confirmed yourself to be a moron. Unfortunately, as noname wrote above, morons exhibit little self-reflection, so you probably will not be ashamed.

          • Kev

            Just saddened by not having 100% Healthy Amir or Lowry. I would imagine we would be up for sure if we had full health. I noticed that Lowry is playing like a freaking beast, but at times seemed a little idle too nursing his knee.

  • the dude

    It has been tough to watch Ross out there. Clearly, his confidence is shot and the magnitude of the playoffs have him overwhelmed. Casey needs to find him the ball and design a couple plays for him in space and get him driving to the bucket for some easy points.
    FAST BREAKS! This is where their athleticism can take over a ball game and get EASY points in transition. We have yet to see that. Has there been one dunk they’ve made in transition?!? They’ve been outscored in two of the three games in terms of fast break points (won 6-4 in Game 1, lost 14-10, 10-8 in Games 2 and 3, respectively). A lot of that has to do with the points off turnovers for Brooklyn, obviously. The difference in these games isn’t much. They just need to find a way to score a couple more easy points. I know that sounds pretty simple, but a couple more baskets is the difference so far in the series.

    • Cansense

      Ross is a reminder to me that this is a rebuilding year. I still want to kick KG and PP in the nut-sack, but we need to be realistic.

      • Haim not Feldman

        Next year, the Raps need to get………….wait for it………..wait for it………….Vince!!! Woot Woot!!

  • golden

    The way to beat small ball is to play inside out through the bigs, but Raps offense is almost always initiated on the perimeter. A simple 2-man hi-lo game with Lowry-JV being our version of Parker-Duncan would put a lot of pressure on the Nets, but Casey’s current offense is completely inept at feeding the post. Furthermore, JV is the only legitimate post advantage we have, but Casey hasn’t trusted him all season. Pretty difficult to completely revamp the offense in a few days. Basically, our perimeter players have to play out of their mind for us to win this one.

    • the dude

      Well said. It is the raptors most decided advantage over Brooklyn, that’s for sure. No one on the Nets can guard JV inside. But, as you said, it is not their M.O.

    • Icarus Descending

      Totally agree, JV should have been getting 10+ attempts throughout the season, which considering the number of shots he gets off of rebounds shouldn’t be hard. Him getting 4 shots in game three is a complete failure on the part of Lowry, DD and to a lesser extent Vasquez. Not only is JV more efficient he can also get their bigs in foul trouble.

    • cdub

      it really is completely bizarre when you think about it, how we aren’t playing inside out.

  • Cansense

    Casey seems to have it locked into his head that we have to play faster because we’re a younger team.

    Why the hell don’t we just play the scrappy team ball that got us 48 wins in the first place? I don’t get why we’re changing our team philosophy to match the Nets. The only change we need to make is to replace Salmons with Fields and play a 9-man rotation, with Hansborough getting burn if JV gets into foul trouble.

  • Coach

    Hey, Coach here. Cool, didn’t know you were going to use my comment. If I did, I probably wouldn’t have been as profane and wrote complete sentences!

    I’m going to suggest something even further for our line ups – Amir really shouldn’t be seeing minutes at all unless: He’s our only big on the floor (i.e. he comes off the bench, for JV only, as you’ve suggested) or the Nets put on 2 bigs. The problem with starting Patterson is he’s not had much success against defending Pierce either, but I do think he’s done a better job of actually punishing Pierce on the other side (not by much though).

    This is no slight on Amir, just think he’s not suited for this match up. He’s going to be needed for the David Wests, Paul Millsaps, Blake Griffins, David Lees, etc.. He’s still useful, just not in this series.

    Also, I believe in giving Fields minutes, but ONLY if Patterson and 2 other guards are on at the same time. They don’t guard Fields at all, but it’s fine if we have other shooters to help space out the floor. FIelds is crafty at penetrating anyway, and he makes good cuts.

    We need Ross to step up, and we need to give him a little bit more run. Any minutes Salmons is getting should go to Ross. It’s trial by fire, but he’s got the tools – he needs to figure out how to use them.

    • Cansense

      100% agree about Ross. Casey said in the post-game that if they could get some better production out that position, they win game 1 and 3. If Ross can step up, the Raps can take this series.

      BTW, the Raps showed incredible fight in coming back and making it a close game. I love this team, even in a loss. Brooklyn is a good team, and this will be a fight until the end.

    • mountio

      Very well said. If only casey thought about his rotations as much as you have…
      He is very reticent to make change unless he feels like he absolutely has to (note how long he stuck with Salmons despite brutal performance, how it took the gay trade for him to play ross, etc.).
      I think your point of LF is the most poignant. People are calling for him to play .. which is great, he does bring some things defensively and can get up and down the court (tangent, but our fast break has been HORRIBLE). BUT – hes awful on offense .. so you need to put a stacked offensive lineup around him. That means no TH, no AJ, no JS. If hes with KL, DD and PP and JV? No problem. Same if you throw in GV for one of those guards.
      Im not quite as down on the Amir match up as you are – mostly because I have seen him succeed against similar players to JJ and PP. But, i certainly agree, he has struggled mightily – maybe its injuries. Perhaps more importantly though, he does make make them pay on the other end … so thus the concept of the mismatch is totally useless. This is disappointing to me, because AJ has posted up smaller guys in the past and succeeded (I remember one Miami game when they went small and we went to AJ successfully in the post like 4 straight times) – but again .. maybe injuries, but he is totally ineffective offensively too.

      • Coach

        Think some credit has to go to the Brooklyn defense, it’s been very good at sinking in after getting dominated by JV in the first 2 games and Amir in the second game. We’ve been running some PnRs but they crowd the guard and are good at cutting off the roll.

        Overall our offense is still good enough based on raw talent though. We’re going to have droughts because our plays aren’t effective anymore but that’s why we need to shore up our defense, which is certainly something that can be more easily addressed in my opinion.

    • WhiteVegas

      If were going small who do we play at PF? Salmons? Fields? Ross? I guess not Fields unless Patterson is playing center.

      Seems the better option is to feed the ball to the bigs and make the Nets pay for going small.

      • Coach

        Well I’d match up Ross against Pierce for one game, so I guess yeah Ross would be the PF. I want to see how Pierce attacks Ross and if they put Pierce in the post against him. Ross is quicker but significantly smaller, so I suspect Pierce will bully him in the post. But Pierce is also really good at driving by low IQ guys, even if they’re quicker, so it remains to be seen if Ross can actually stay infront of him. I’d try though. Fields on JJ. DD on Livingston. Patterson would have to eventually get on Pierce too, but for a lot less time so hopefully less overall damage.

        Agreed I’d rather feed the ball to the bigs but that’s not something Casey’s focused on at all, and I think it’s too late to try and get his team to follow that unfortunately. But I also think Brooklyn’s good at their help d – when we do feed it to JV, he’s getting more attention and getting picked/turning it over when double teamed. Also, it’s not like we’re not finding Amir on PnRs and the post – they’re doing a good job of covering our PnRs.

        • FLUXLAND

          “But I also think Brooklyn’s good at their help d – when we do feed it
          to JV, he’s getting more attention and getting picked/turning it over
          when double teamed.”

          This is what makes the inside out proposition weak.

          • golden

            True. We haven’t played inside-out all season, so we’re not going to get good at it overnight. Amir really has no post game either – offensively, he’s a pick and roll, put-back type of big man (sort of like Tyson Chandler). And we haven’t done much PnR either, since Calderon left. Even feeding the post, comes from perimeter motion plays and screens above or near the 3-pt line.

            Just watch the Spurs – the simple hi-lo entry pass into the post, with defenders drawn to the weak side is one of their bread and butter plays, and has been for years. The big (Duncan) automatically demands a double-team, and you’ve setup the kick-out back to the PG (Parker) or SG (Ginobili) with a the corner 3 open (Leonard) on the weak side after a quick few quick swing passes.

            Just replace JV=Duncan, Parker/Ginobili (Lowry/DD) and Leonard=Ross, and this play could be available to us all game long.

    • webfeat

      This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think Casey shouldn’t have both Ross and DD on the floor on the same time. Sit one or the other so that they can both have Livingston/Thornton as their defensive assignments.

      • Coach

        Not a bad idea, actually. Problem is DD gets a lot of playing time (deservedly – even if he has a trash game, brooklyn has to defend and pay attention to him). So Ross wouldn’t see much daylight, and he probably won’t be able to get in a groove.

    • rtzyyz

      I love this article and I love the comments…sadly though I think casey is a terrible coach, I doesn’t see the light…He has had plenty of opportunity to make adjustments so far has done next to nothing and the one adjustments that he has made, that being fields, lasted less than a game.
      I love the raps, their spirit hustle and never give up attitude. I think we are the second best team in the east but sadly because of our coach we will lose this totally winnable series.

      • morganc

        I have made this point numerous times, but get met with resistance from other commenters who spew the same thing the media does; that because DC has got this team to play hard, he deserves an extension. This is why we have a good GM, to make the tough calls.
        Playing hard and buying in should be a prerequisite. In the playoffs, you need a lot more than that. You need a coach who can be an effective and adaptable tactician. DC is not one. We will need a new head coach eventually, if we are to ever realize our potential.

  • noname

    k I am going to get a lot of scrutiny for this because of one play but here’s how I think the lineup should be : Lowry, Derozan, Fields, Hansbrough, and JV. We gotta light a fire under ross’ ass so he finally steps it up. He even said during the season the reason why he has played well since the trade is because he’s fighting to keep his spot as starting sf. If we take it away, not only can he step it up against inferior competition (BK’s bench) but now we solve the JJ matchup problem because Fields defends him well. Now for the reason why hansbrough starts; I think he can guard pierce. Yes, it sounds crazy as hell especially because of the play when pierce blew by him for the dunk; but that was because he was defending flat footed. If Casey puts him out there and hypes him up and tells him to make pierce’s life a living hell, I think he can do it. There’s a reason why we call him psycho T. Other than that, just limit the turnovers, FREE JV from his no-touches curse, and play hard THE WHOLE GAME, not just the 4th, and we’ll be fine.

    • Coach

      Problem with this line up is you’ve destroyed our already broken offense. There’s no 3 point shooting except for Lowry, and there’s actually no shooting at all except Lowry and DeRozan. Not to say that it’s impossible, but you would need an offensive scheme based on an inside out play, but, Hansborough and JV are far from guaranteed post options. People are probably going to disagree with me, but JV’s dominance has been overrated. He gets easily pickpocketed and flustered by double teams. His moves will become increasingly predictable fast as the series goes on. So I actually agree with a PnR/guard oriented offense. But we need a third shooter – either Patterson, GV or Ross – out there.

      Also, I wouldn’t bet on Hansborough guarding Pierce..

      • noname

        I think if hansbrough wreaks havoc, he will cause problems for pierce. And imagine how many offensive rebound hustle points/fouls drawn there could be with hansbrough and jv attacking the glass. Plus, JV and hansbrough know how to do PnR which can help generate some offense. And amir, 2pat, and ross get to feast on inferior competition (brooklyn’s bench). Basically, on offense we gotta play through our frontcourt because that’s where our biggest advantage lies. On defense, we need guys to contain pierce and jj, I know having hansbrough guard pierce is a risky proposition but i believe he can do a good job, and we all know that fields can contain JJ. Then demar can guard livingston, who will only have an advantage with his length, and lowry has to find a way to put up with d-will. I dunno man i honestly think this could work.

      • FLUXLAND

        (should have scrolled down)

        Bang on about JV, again. He (still) too slow and labours to manufacture anything, when he’s “operating”… making him, as noted, predictable. And his rebounds, while voluminous, need more quality.

        • raptorstand

          Our shooting % is down and our turnovers are up because the ball is being covered tightly on the outside, no matter what happens when it goes low it will open up the outside. Tross is not open when he is shooting, we must go low against KG to open everything up. JV is going to dominate today and we are going to blow them out.

          • FLUXLAND

            “no matter what happens when it goes low it will open up the outside”

            While this is all good in theory on paper, I don’t think enough credit is being given to BK’s D. And as already mentioned, the inside game has to be polished in order to initiate from there. Unfortunately, there’s nothing sound about our post game, so it’s not as easy as “no matter what happens”….

      • Mexiballer

        I agree with you about J.V. He’s fine when he’s left alone to back his man down in the low post. But as soon as he gets some added pressure from another defender helping or swiping at the ball, he doesnt have the skills or reaction time yet, and often gets stripped of the ball, throws it away, or puts up a bad shot. I believe that is the reason that Casey does not and will not play through J.V. as the go to guy with an inside out game. J.V will get there eventually, but he’s not there yet.

    • mountio

      Horrible idea. While our D hasnt been great … our offense has been outright horrible. More LF and TH only make that worse. For better or for worse, we need to get our best offensive players going (DD, KL, JV, TR and a little PP and GV off the bench). All of these guys need to be playing well offensively (and a couple of them great). We are really struggling on O against a good brooklyn D and more inept offensive players isnt that answer. (Of course, Im fine with these guys getting minutes, they both play a key role off the bench … but they cant be starting / playing heavy minutes)

      • noname

        don’t worry about the offense. It makes things that much easier when amir, 2pat, and ross get to feast on the brooklyn bench. Figuring out how to defend them is the main problem.

        • mountio

          completely disagree. While our D can use some help I admit – our offense has been very bad. I give credit to their D .. but most possessions we havent seen a sniff of a potential open look until 5 seconds left in the clock. Then, we have been able to hit some tough shots (DD, GV, KL sometimes) – but its been far from fluid. That is our biggest issue

      • hoogie

        Our offence is really predictable….that is a major problem. The Raps have been getting across center, stopping the ball 6 feet before the key and playing criss cross above the key ultimately ending up with DD trying to fake a drive and backing up to take a long 2. You can only run that play a couple of times before the Nets defense doubles up on DD who will not pass to the bigs underneath. Raps have to try to actually drive the basket forcing the Nets to collapse inside then kick it out. Not their forte but not rocket science either.

  • GM

    Greivis PnR with the bigs is the key.

    • asifyouknow

      That was what brought them back. If I were a coach there are a few things I say in a close game.
      1) Do not foul
      2) The reffs are calling TO’s on everybody, keep your mouth shut.
      Specially with a few big mouths this team has like Vaz, Lowry. They both like to complain to the reffs after EVERY FOUL they get.

  • Kev

    We need to shoot more 3s. In the 1st quarter, we actually had some very good 3 point shots through ball movement.
    Just like how Johnson constantly does that annoying floater in the paint, we need to get JV to post up but at the same time, rather than driving in awkwardly, he needs to practice improving court vision to find open players on the perimeter. If there is an opening, derozan or Lowry can drive in. Otherwise, rotate the ball around quickly for a solid shot whether its a hit/miss. I’d rather have a slightly lower percentage shot for 3 points rather than seeing TOs.
    I think Novak could be pretty valuable in spreading the floor.
    Lowry, Vasquez, Novak, Patterson and JV
    Lowry, Demar, Novak, Patterson and JV
    And once Brooklyn tries to adjust to the perimeter roundabouts, go full on post-ups from patterson and JV.

  • ckh26

    We can win this. We really can. The game is exploiting your advantages and our advantage is on the inside. We rebound better and JV owns Garnett/Plumlee… Blatche is an afterthought for the Nets. Casey is going to have to bang the ball down low to JV and we will use rebounding to our advantage. Either JV gets his or we rebound his misses for better looks on the outside as the Nets collapse down to help. We do this ALL game rather than for the first Q as is our wont.

    • Kev

      yeah i agree
      – use bench wisely too for match-ups.
      Johnson -> Go fields
      Plumlee –> Go Amir
      Blatche –> Go Hansborough

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  • RapsFanatic

    Raptors have to play inside out in order to win this series. The raptors in game 3 were relying to much on Derozan “Hero” ball, and they just had no intensity what-so-ever in the third quarter where the game was pretty much lost. If the raptors want to win they have to get JV going and Amir going. Terrence Ross is having a horrible series because the guys he’s guarding are just to strong for him and much more veteran savvy honestly. They get calls because he’s playing them too tight and he’s always caught in bad situations. Dwane Casey has to change his offensive gameplan and not rely heavily on Demar and Kyle or even Greivis to help them win a game. JV is abusing, I mean, manhandling Kevin Garnett, how does casey not realize this? Punish Brooklyn for going small. Amir Johnson, even though he’s limited offensively, can crash the boards and get easy buckets. Game 3 was jumpers galore for Demar Derozan and that’s really why we lost the game. Yeah the refs were horrible, but the raptors never played well in the second half and that’s where the game was lost. Dwane Casey isn’t an offensive coach, but it doesn’t take a chemist to realize what advantages they have over a smaller team.

  • raptorstand

    Like I have been saying all season we must go low to open up the outside. Great Game !! Like I have said all season this team is learning. This game was a big learning experience about what needs to be done to win. They played with abandon and panic at the end of the game and looked an old team in the eye and seen there is nothing there. We are the better team, we focus on down low and everything will open up. We are going to blow them out next game, I guarantee it.

  • Jeff Grayson

    I agree with this article – Raps have not adapted and Fields and Patterson have shown success defensively and in the case of PP, on both ends of the court. I would like to see TRoss and Amir come off the bench and have Fields and PPatterson in the starting lineup.

    But there’s another factor that isn’t mentioned here; the Raps lack ball handling skills. How do you use a size advantage? Post-up. But the Nets have great length at almost every position, and Amir and Jonas consistently turn it over on the post-up. Patterson has looked much stronger with the ball in his hands, and I love watching Fields make cuts and hunt for offensive rebounds. I think Casey thinks his starting 5 is better than the Nets’ starters, and overall he’s right. But the match ups call for adjustments and the proof is on the court. The only game the Raps have won had Fields playing major minutes against Johnson.

  • asifyouknow

    Well guys is just three games….I’m all bummed out , I pull for two teams Spurs and Toronto and both of them are 1-2…..what the hell…..fingers crossed …

    • Mexiballer

      Go Mavericks!

      • Gary Gill

        Spurs are gonna eventually choke as usual.

      • asifyouknow

        asif hater…lol

  • DryDry

    I love that Garnett and Pierce are starting to crap on their home fans:

    KG: “They could do better. I was expecting Brooklyn to be real hostile, New York-style. I know what it’s like to come here as the opposition, so our crowd could do better, but they were there when we needed them, and we fed off of them.”

    PP: “Well, we know gradually they got into it. Hopefully the next game, it will get a lot better from the start. We want to come out from the jump, from the beginning, and have them in the game. It shouldn’t take a big play from us. We want them behind us. It was a great crowd tonight.”

  • asifyouknow

    The outcome of this fourth game is mostly up to DeMar.
    Will he come out and try to be MJ and have a believe that is up to him to win this game or is he coming into this game with an attitude that there are plenty of other players in this team that can get it done.
    You will be able to tell in two seconds what his mind set is for this game by simply seeing if he is going to dribble the ball east and west, and doing so for 90% of the shot clock, or is he going to give it up before they close on him (is called anticipation) and let someone else get a turn.
    Simply, if DeMar decides to play by himself Toronto should just pack it up, is over till next year. No one comes back from 1-3.

  • Transcendant Man

    On offense T ross is not been given a chance to take shots, Lowry and DeRozen always overlook him lately and it must be frustrating for him. I think you have to give T ross at least 4-6 (1st quarter shots) shots to warm up, if we give DD 20-24 chance a game whats the harm in giving T ross 4-6? However if he does that stupid drive and kick that he does instead of looking to finish with or without contact i would bench him after the first chance. He has to go strong to the basket, he may not get the calls but he will start to develop a reputation and the refs will give him a couple of calls in his favor at a higher frequency in time. This is also a growing pains seasons (playoffs were a surprise), we have to stick to our core and give them a chance to shake off what ails them, we can only get better from here. Casey has done a satisfactory job at running the ship overall but his negatives outweigh his positives so he has to go, his ability to adapt to late game situations/match ups is beyond poor, his ability to create good offensive schemes is non existent, with this much youth you could be tiring out the nets by late 3rd quarter but we continue to run slow ass sets. So either he needs to go or hire two great offensive assistant coaches that will develop and run offense instead of him. If raps lose tonight, the series is over in 6.

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  • gizzly73

    Casey is a very fine coach. The record speaks for itself!. Reasons: The team plays hard every night almost never gets blown out. No losing streaks. Young players improving hugely. Team harmony. Gets the absolute best out of KL, a notoriously difficult player to coach. Great with the media. Has no superstars. Team shines in crunch time. Team first basketball. Nuff said

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