Toronto drops second in a row to Brooklyn

Toronto suffers their second blowout loss in a row.

The Toronto Raptors went into Barclays last night looking to bounce back from their blowout loss against the Pelicans in their previous game but Brooklyn had no intention of being their launching pad as they got back on course. It’s one thing for a bad defensive team to not play well on defense but when it’s a notoriously good defensive team that is not executing on defense that’s when it becomes more concerning.

At one point the Nets were leading by 34 points which was due to just poor defense from Toronto. A team that has built a reputation for stopping drives and just having an overall menacing defense was allowing way too many drives last night. Sloppy closeout techniques coupled with a failure to contain the ball in front of them led to a multitude of issues elsewhere on the court. The rotations have also been subpar and have led to too many wide open threes. Joe Harris had 17 points last night and he made 5 threes and a lot of them were due to poor rotations after doubling on the ball. The Raptors scheme is risky and requires a lot of awareness and effort and that just wasn’t there last night. The Raptors transition defense was also poor last night and just bolstered my belief that the team overall just isn’t putting in a lot of effort.

On a more positive note this was the best game from Scottie Barnes since returning from injury. Even when the Raptors were down he was still trying to put pressure on the rim and trying to push the pace in transition. He also looked more comfortable on his drives and finished through contact which bodes well moving forward.

OG Anunoby also had a good game on offense and he continued his potent rim production last night. OG recorded 21 points with 0 threes last night and he looked good doing it. A big positive is how he sealed off defenders to make entry passes easier for his teammates after cutting to the rim off the ball. Another note is how OG continued to use his sheer strength to his advantage on his drives last night. For example, OG was driving on Joe Harris off a hand-off from Pascal and Joe Harris was hip to hip with him and then OG simply bumped him off his spot to free himself up for the layup.

The defense on Kevin Durant individually was solid. Toronto always holds star scorers to well below their averaging field goal attempts and this was the case with Kevin Durant as he only took 10 shots. OG did well contesting many of his shots as well.

Toronto simply has to play better on defense, the rotations need to be more crisp, they need to get back to deterring drives, and they need to be more engaged in transition. The Raptors face the Orlando Magic tonight and this team should be a good opportunity for Toronto to regroup and bounce back and iron out their recent issues on defense.

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