If you wanted to know why so many NBA obsessives dismiss the Toronto Raptors’ chances for something approaching relevance, Wednesday night’s fourth quarter was a pretty good primer.
To go all in on basketball jargon, the ball stuck. It stuck to Kyle Lowry. It stuck to Rudy Gay. It stuck to DeMar DeRozan. That is to say, the ball did not move, and the Raptors’ 93-87 over the putrid Boston Celtics was closer than it should have been because of it.
“We had too much [individual play], too many one-handed passes, too many one-on-ones,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Good defensive teams are going to shut that out. We’ve got to get that ball moving. I thought we were doing a good job. For whatever reason, in the fourth quarter, we got standing in isolation. Rudy made some tough shots. That’s who he is. But against the good teams and to get where we want to go, we’ve got to get some ball movement, some pass-pass combinations.”
Indeed, 15 assists on 38 baskets overall is pretty poor stuff for lovers of frenetic basketball. They had just two assists in the entire fourth quarter.