Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Multiple issues plague Raptors in bad loss to depleted Heat

It might be time for a lineup change after 21 games.

If we’re ranking losses, Toronto losing at home to Miami without Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro was the second worst of the season.

It will be hard to top blowing a 17 point lead with five minutes remaining at Chicago where players jumped at every single DeMar DeRozan pumpfake. That still remains number one for now. However the Jekyll and Hyde Raptors were in full force this game.

Toronto gave up five straight threes to begin the night; Caleb Martin in particular went off with 23 first half points. It took two timeouts from Darko Rajakovic to calm things down with Miami up 22-7. O.G. Anunoby was the first one to rewrite the ship, going on a personal 8-0 run. Anunoby had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the first half alone. He finished with a career-high tying six assists, something he’s now done five times. Pascal Siakam got in a rhythm from the midrange area. He put up a game-high 30 points and shot 11-11 from the free throw line, which is notable considering the Raptors are 29th in percentage this season. Pascal even made a corner three, after going 5-52 from behind the arc in the last ten games. Toronto took a two point lead into halftime.

Then the bad Raptors showed up again.

3rd quarter turnover spree

Ultimately, the Raptors never saw another lead after a brutal scoring drought for the first 6:26 of the third quarter. Toronto turned the ball over six times in this stretch, leading to a 16-0 Heat run to put Miami up 80-66. Kyle Lowry’s drawn charge was a questionable call, but you can’t point the finger at one particular player during this disaster class. It was nearly everyone.

Anunoby was asked about routine slow starts in general, especially the third.

Dennis Schroder

Schroder is in a slump. He’s shot under 40 percent in four straight games. Dennis went a season-low 1-12 against the Wizards last month when he knocked knees with Jordan Poole on the first possession, however this was his worst game of the season.

The Raptors ended up with 29 assists but too often Schroder looked for his offence early in the shot clock, finishing 4-18 with nine points. On a night where Siakam and Anunoby combined for 53 points on 26 shots (13 apiece), Schroder took 18. That simply can’t happen from your point guard when two of your main options are hot.

Schroder is usually a decent finisher but shot 3-11 in the paint (3-8 at the rim). The fourth clip below is especially maddening with the Raptors down 97-92 with four minutes left. Siakam was doubled. Scottie Barnes (who had an off game but started turning it up in the fourth as he usually does) was wide open. You can see Scottie pointing for the ball to be swung to Anunoby (and then him). However when Dennis received the pass from Siakam, he drove into traffic and threw a bad pass to Jakob Poeltl that went out of bounds. Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong were critical on numerous occasions.

Adding to the mix, Schroder had two rough defensive possessions against Duncan Robinson that put the game out of reach.

What makes matters worse is you can question if Schroder should have been subbed back in the game at all late fourth. Gary Trent Jr. had 15 points off the bench, and helped get Toronto back in the game with back to back threes to end the third quarter. Even Malachi Flynn could have been an option, only playing six minutes during a second quarter stretch where he made good decisions against Miami’s zone.

With the consistent struggles by the starting lineup, Darko was asked about a potential change.

It’s probably time to swap Schroder for Trent in the starting lineup. It provides another perimeter shooting threat (Trent has scored in double figures in five of his last six games), and Dennis can be more aggressive running the second unit. Furthermore it allows Siakam, Barnes and Anunoby to get more touches instead of the one man possessions that you saw from Dennis above. This isn’t meant to completely tear apart Schroder’s season. He’s still averaging 15.5 points and 6.9 assists. However Dennis has shifted from being a starter to a reserve his entire career. He even brought that up before the season, noting his comfort with either role. Why not make a change with the Raptors now 9-12?

Sidenotes

  • Miami seems to have found another big to help out of nowhere. Orlando Robinson had 15 points, 12 boards, four assists and three steals. He made his first six threes to begin the season, finally missing one later in the game.
  • Otto Porter Jr. didn’t score, but his spacing helped and finished with a team high plus-14. Rajakovic mentioned postgame that Porter may get a load management game or two, but he should be in the rotation consistently. He’s only played twice in the last six games.
  • Lowry is now 3-3 against the Raptors since leaving for Miami.

Up Next: The Raptors are in Charlotte on Friday.