Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were ball-dominant down the stretch in the Raptors Game 3 win. We look at the “under 5 minute” offense and see what was run. Video is followed by analysis.
4:25: Lowry make. Prettiest play of them all where three guys touched the ball and Lowry’s pump-fake sold the defense, resulting in a drive. Patterson is used as the screener, which is the norm in these small-ball lineups. This is the quick-thinking Lowry that we’re all used to seeing – one step ahead of everybody else.
3:59: DeRozan miss. Dribble-handoff to setup DeRozan, and Deng goes under leaving DeRozan open. Yes, Deng went under which is an invitation to shoot and you might argue that DeRozan has to take this shot. I disagree – this is a bad shot and this is why: Cory Joseph is screening Wade, and if DeRozan just looks to his left, he’ll see that DeMarre Carroll is wide open since Joseph has wiped out Wade.
3:12: Lowry miss. Can you blame Lowry for taking on Haslem here? I would’ve preferred if he’d have forced Haslem into contesting the shot at the rim rather than the fade, but that Lowry short fade has been money all year. Notice the Raptors spacing on this possession and how unhelpful it is. Specifically, take a look at Joseph and DeRozan who are within a couple feet of each other on the far side.
2:40: Carroll miss. DeRozan, after using the screen, has a chance to go right at Haslem but passes it off to Carroll with the clock winding down and the swingman fully covered. This is an instance where he should attack and try to get the foul on the laterally-challenged Haslem. Carroll is not a good one-on-one player and putting him situations where he’s forced to create offense (without even the help of a screen) will always result in sub-par offense.
2:20: Joseph attacks and draws the foul which is called on the floor.
2:09: Lowry make. Nobody but Lowry touches it. Good screening by Patterson and a big shot is made. I’ll take it.
1:34: Lowry FTs. This is more like it. You see Haslem on you and there’s absolutely no reason to do anything other than to attack and attack hard. The Raptors should be searching for the big on small switch because the Heat bigs, other than Whiteside, can’t challenge without fouling.
1:00: DeRozan miss. Very tough shot by DeRozan but the real problem here is that he picked up his dribble too early because of the pressure supplied by Patterson’s man. In a live-dribble situation, he has a much higher chance of drawing the foul but since he picked it up, it becomes much harder. There’s also 9 seconds on the shot-clock when he shoots, and a kick-out for a better play to be run was an option.
:33: Lowry make. This is an All-Star shot. Wade hung with him on the screen, contested the shot, but Lowry’s rise and release was too quick.
There’s a distinct lack of touches by anyone other than Lowry and DeRozan, with most possessions having only one or two guys touch the ball. This is nothing new and we can’t expect this to change this late into the season, so it boils down to decision-making from those who dominate the ball, namely DeRozan and Lowry. In every single play that didn’t result in the outcome we wanted, there’s an easily identifiable reason why that didn’t happen, and it’s down to our two star players being context-aware.