Quick Reaction: Raptors 76, Heat 84

Raptors shoot 6-for-42 from deep and fail far short against the Heat despite a strong defensive effort.

TOR Raptors76Final
Box Score
84MIA Heat

A
O. Anunoby37 MIN, 12 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 5-12 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -1 +/-

After one game coming off the bench OG was returned to the starting lineup tonight. His only bucket of the first half was a buzzer beating corner 3 to end the second quarter, a shot that the team needed in the worst way. He followed it up 1.5 minutes into the game by attacking Bam off the dribble with the crossover and a nice finish at the rim.

Oddly enough despite being on a shooting slump of his own as of late it was OG who was their most consistent threat on the night.

D+
P. McCaw27 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-8 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

He’s been much better as of late but the game was just a little bit off for him tonight. Missed put-backs, passes behind shooters, failing to disrupt ball handlers, etc. If the Raptors had any semblance of health he would have had a short leash tonight, but he should not have played more than Terence Davis.

A-
S. Ibaka37 MIN, 19 PTS, 10 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 9-21 FG, 0-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 2 +/-

Went from seeming disinterested to start the game to a main cog and exploding for rebounds (taking advantage of Miami’s zone). His mid-range jumper kept Toronto in the game early despite atrocious three point shooting.

Two 3-second violations (one killing some fourth quarter momentum) hurt though.

B+
K. Lowry40 MIN, 15 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 0 STL, 4-16 FG, 2-12 3FG, 5-6 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

Started the game guarding Jimmy Butler and had a lot of success. Jimmy made some tough shots with turnarounds, but Lowry’s strength (as always) prevented him from being posted deep despite the size and assumed strength disadvantage.

Raptors avoided another awful moment as Lowry hobbled quickly to the locker room midway through the third quarter. Thankfully he returned very quickly (likely just needed his ankle re-taped after a tweak) and still took a fourth quarter charge from Jimmy Butler.

D+
F. VanVleet39 MIN, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 3-16 FG, 1-11 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -11 +/-

It’s no exaggeration to say that Duncan Robinson is one of the best shooters in the world (non-Matt Thomas division of course), and it was Fred’s responsibility for much of the game to track the triggerman. Fred picked his pocket, disrupted his rhythm by getting into him, and forced him to be more of a driver rather than a floor spacer.

Saying it was a rough shooting performance from Fred is not strong enough, but iit paired with an inability to penetrate against the zone which doubled the struggles.

C
R. Hollis-Jefferson29 MIN, 13 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 0-0 3FG, 5-6 FT, 2 BLK, 3 TO, -8 +/-

Surprisingly became a key member of breaking the zone defence in the first quarter in the most unexpected way. RHJ was used at the top of the key in the middle of the zone as a distributor. First possession led to an Ibaka dunk from the baseline, with the next creating a wide open three point attempt from Fred (missed). While he’s not an elite passer he can make the good read when the defence collapses. It was a creative way to use Rondae and minimize his weaknesses (shooting), but against a zone you need as many shooters as possible. He was far from perfect for what the Raptors needed but gave what he could.

With all that said, the Raptors really need to limit times Rondae needs to dribble. Why does he so often fall down when he does that?

C-
C. Boucher13 MIN, 2 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Bam isn’t exactly a banger but he’s strong on the glass, but Boucher held his own and provided strong help defence with a couple blocks (including an impressive one on Derrick Jones in the first half and one tracking Dragic to the rim near the end of the third quarter). With the Heat still in zone during the second half it was Boucher earning second chance opportunities.

Was never looked to on offence. Would have been interesting to see if his shooting could have helped, because it at least wouldn’t have hurt.

B-
T. Davis13 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-6 FG, 0-5 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

Davis has begun hunting shots in ways he wasn’t consistently doing early in the season. The confidence is clearly growing, taking shots off the pull-up, catch, or even coming around a screen. Played a five minute stretch in the first half and did not return until late in the third and made a big difference in the team’s overall energy. Started the fourth with a put-back lay-up and then was a key contributor as the Raptors forced a 24 second violation.

Inc
S. Johnson6 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -4 +/-

Opened the second quarter, as the depth issues have apparently finally given him another shot. At the time of his insertion the Raptors were shooting 1-for-11 from long distance. Adding a poor shooter on the floor was not the solution.

At best Stanley feels like a theoretical defender. He can be capable in man-on-man situations but it breaks down quickly when switching (or any action) is involved. He didn’t return to the floor after his short stretch.

C-
Nick Nurse

Can’t blame Nurse for the poor shooting, and he picked some innovative ways to minimize weaknesses when attacking the zone, but some rotation decisions could have been improved. I would have also liked him to use his timeouts a little more freely to help disrupt some Miami momentum and draw up looks at key moments.

Things We Saw

  1. Lot of Raptors fans made the trip to Miami for this game, or at least the snowbirds showed out. Every time the Raptors scored their was an audible cheer on the broadcast. At one point the Heat broadcast interviewed 3 fans sitting in the upper bowl. Not a single fan was in their row, or the 3 full rows behind them. It was empty.
  2. The Heat and the Raptors have a lot in common this season. Both play hard, are well coached, have mined the edges with undrafted contributors, throw a variety of zone defences on the regular, and have a star player recognized for their talent and for being a bit of an asshole at times.
  3. The Raptors really missed Siakam, Norm, and Gasol tonight. Without those three the Raptors versatility drops dramatically and against strong defences it hurts.
  4. Miami’s defence was very good, but the Raptors 76 points are more about their shooting struggles than it was about Miami’s system. Plenty of open shots failed to go down.

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