Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
|P. Siakam48 MIN, 12 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 6-16 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, -4 +/-|
Not a bad statistical line if you’re a two-bit role player, but far from the game we needed from our star player. He didn’t want the ball even when he had Harris, Niang or Green on him, and instead passed it up when facing single-coverage. What the hell is that? Even when he did attempt shots against them they were of questionable quality and something Philly would happily concede. Rewind back to the start of this series, and those are the matchups he was supposed to exploit to either score, get people in foul trouble, or set up his teammates. None of that happened. And why is he not handling the ball and playing point forward more? Wasn’t that our thing the entire year?
|O. Anunoby46 MIN, 26 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 8-18 FG, 4-9 3FG, 6-9 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, +1 +/-|
Probably the most willing shooter on the night along with Gary, and he even hit them. Went 4-9 from three and led the team in scoring. Bailed the Raptors out of many possessions that weren’t going anywhere, and led the team in offensive rebounds. Once you factor in how much he has to do defensively, it’s an impressive outing.
|K. Birch14 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -2 +/-|
Got the start and had a legitimate PnR to start the game which added a different dimension to the Raptors opening sequences. At the same time, you can see how poor he is at spacing the floor with Philly cheating off him at every opportunity. Predictably got in foul trouble as he doesn’t have the foot speed to stay with Embiid.
|F. VanVleet45 MIN, 12 PTS, 5 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL, 3-13 FG, 2-10 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-|
Needed a 16oz steak of a game from him and he delivered a wet sandwich. You’re our star and will be held to star standards. Or at the very least, you can’t get outplayed by a second year guy for yet another game. Defensively poor, wasteful of the clock, predictable in creating his own offense and poor finishing at the rim. On the positive side, did better in running the offense and trying to set up his mates, but man, the game just slows down too much when he has the ball (which is a lot more since Siakam isn’t handling it much anymore). 2-10 from three is downright criminal in a game of this magnitude. If those touches went to OG, we win this game.
|G. Trent Jr.45 MIN, 24 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 9-19 FG, 4-9 3FG, 2-3 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-|
After receiving the first ever two consecutive Fs in the storied history of the Quick Reaction, came back to life and hit two threes and an And1 in the first half. He improved his challenge in one-on-one defensive situations and his darting in and out of space helped bust the Philly zone early on. Cooler in the second half, and a little hesitant on the finishes on the drives. Here’s the thing with Gary: he’ll do everything right to get himself a clean look, but then he bombs the part where he’s supposed to be a specialist at. Still, a hugely positive offensive night with 24 points on good shooting. He did his part in this one.
|T. Young6 MIN, 2 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -9 +/-|
It was a little weird to see him come and check Harden on several possessions in the first half, with a low success rate. I suppose it was Nurse trying to give Harden a different look, but it was one that Harden liked so much that he made it a point to seek him out.
|C. Boucher17 MIN, 3 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +7 +/-|
Big energy boost off the bench hitting a corner three which bailed out a possession and then forced a turnover against Harden. Critical part of that first half bench unit where the subs didn’t concede the advantage handed to them by the starters. Tapered in the second half but still maintained a high compete level and did well on the many rotations he was asked to make.
|P. Achiuwa36 MIN, 20 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 9-11 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-2 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, +2 +/-|
Two massive FT misses with 26 seconds left in regulation which could have sealed it. But other than that, Precious is thy name, versatility is thy game. Making all the right plays as he’s done all series. Timing the offensive boards, defending on the perimeter, hitting the in-rhythm threes, playing fundamentally sound defense, and the list goes on. Achiuwa’s post All-Star break stride has hit new notes in the playoffs – a true positive this spring.
|M. Flynn8 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +4 +/-|
His four minute spell in the first half didn’t see him score any points, but it did constitute good point guard play where he pushed it on the break, didn’t turn it over and did the basics right while notching two assists. Saw some daylight in the fourth as well.
Good call to start Khem and put some meat on Embiid. Bringing Precious off the bench seemed to work as well. Even dabbled in the zone with good effect until Philly finally figured it out. Did well to respond to Philly’s zone too by flashing Siakam and Precious to the middle and having them pick out perimeter options. Even sprinkled some pick ‘n roll today with the limited options he has available to him.
Did not have the balls to bench Fred or Siakam, but then again, what other options does he really have? Besides, benching there is too risky since they’re both players that are liable to explode, and to have to put that kind of weaponry on the bench is kind of crazy.
Nobody on the inbounder for the Embiid three is weird, but if it’s Embiid catching on the other end, does it matter as much? What is up with some of those OOT plays? A Siakam three from 24 feet with 18 on the clock? I thought my stream had glitched.
Things We Saw
- I am just so disappointed in Fred and Siakam. Compare them to Harden and Embiid, and the distinction in class is clearly evident. It’s accentuated by a roster which has major depth issues, but at the very least you expect your star players to show up in what is essentially an elimination game.
- I feel bad for Precious missing those two FTs which would’ve given the Raps a lead. It’s not Nick Anderson level choking, but I feel for the guy. I hope he recovers from this and continues his huge upward trajectory. I’m telling you, that Kyle Lowry trade wasn’t too shabby at all (and please stop comparing it to the hypothetical return in a hypothetical trade at the deadline).
- Where’s our defense? Do we have a defense? Is allowing Philly to shoot 50%+ in all three games good defense? Does our over-sized length not equate to good fundamental defense?
- What is up with Niang killing us from three? Did we not read the scouting report or watch tape from the last two games? The guy has one skill and one skill only and yet we’re not able to deal with him.
- Nick Nurse’s challenge to get a goaltending call against Harden was a great decision, and the replay even showed it being on the way up, yet the refs didn’t have the guts to overturn it. Doc Rivers was shouting in their ears and would’ve kneed all three in the groin if they had.
- The front office has to take a hard look at how far a core of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet can get you. Maybe this playoff series is a comment on that, and gives management enough data to make some offseason moves that will SHOCK THE WORLD BABY!!!