5 changes for Raptors to make towards Magic for Recreation 2

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The Raptors have by no means tasted victory in a playoff sequence after falling behind two video games to none (0-7, together with towards Orlando in 2008) and don’t need to attempt to accomplish the feat now. That makes Tuesday’s Recreation 2 this yr’s most necessary sport thus far. Toronto wasn’t that far off from a gap victory, however changes will should be made and a few key gamers should step up. Nonetheless, as veteran Magic coach Steve Clifford mentioned on Monday, the thought of changes telling the story at the moment of yr is a bit overrated. As Clifford mentioned, a foul capturing night time turning into a superb one could make the entire distinction, as a substitute of simply shifting across the Xs and the Os.

That mentioned, we’re going to throw out 5 changes that might assist the Raptors out anyway:

1. Assault the ring extra:

Simpler mentioned than performed, we all know, since Orlando’s defence is partly constructed on packing the paint. Nonetheless Kyle Lowry can’t get one shot within the paint, he’s a dynamic downhill scorer who is hard for opponents to take care of. And if he’s extra aggressive, which Lowry mentioned he could be after follow on Monday, it should additionally result in extra drive-and-kick alternatives. We’re going to ensure that the Raptors do a greater job of changing these sorts of possibilities in Recreation 2. Toronto missed all eight of its nook three-point makes an attempt for what needed to be the primary time all season. Unhealthy timing and bricklaying that received’t be repeated.

Toronto shot 62% on the rim in Recreation 1 (and Charlotte shot an absurd 22-for-26 there within the season finale. Preserve going there.

Now, as Nick Nurse talked about on Monday, it makes it harder when the officers are calling perceived blocks fees, however the Raptors nonetheless must assault. It will likely be a distinct group of refs for Recreation 2.

2 Extra Kawhi:

The entire load administration program was established to maintain Kawhi Leonard wholesome and ensure he absolutely recovered, with no setbacks, from final yr’s main harm. It labored, however one of many objectives of the plan was to verify he was able to play so much within the post-season. Leonard was in for 60 regular-season contests, he performed extra minutes than he did on Saturday in 40 of them. Now’s not the time to rein in one of many NBA’s finest gamers and considered one of its confirmed playoff performers. Leonard dedicated all three of his fouls within the third quarter (and nonetheless performed 10 minutes in that body) in order that wasn’t a difficulty. Leonard subbed out with 2:46 remaining within the first quarter, which was regular, however he didn’t verify again in till 7:04 remained, which means he missed a full third of the primary half, which is an excessive amount of for the perfect participant on both facet to spend watching. Leonard then sat for ages once more earlier than returning within the fourth. Leonard’s bought to be as much as 36 or 37 minutes by the top of every non-blowout playoff sport. Maybe a faster hook within the first and third quarters and a much more expedient return to motion could be superb?

three Preserve it collectively:

One other suggestion Nurse and his workers didn’t ask us for: As usually as attainable, hold Serge Ibaka tethered to Lowry. Ibaka’s large season was a product of his laborious work and abilities, but additionally of spending loads of time on the courtroom alongside Lowry, one of many video games’ premier setup males. Lowry constantly bought the large man in spots the place he may do his finest work The Ibaka-Fred VanVleet symmetry merely isn’t there. Ibaka had a tough Recreation 1. As an alternative of constructing Lowry the primary participant to sub out early in video games, possibly Danny Inexperienced may go? That method Ibaka would have two level guards on the market with him for a bit, earlier than Lowry gave strategy to Norman Powell.

four Put Inexperienced on Augustin from the beginning:

For no matter motive, D.J. Augustin has constantly carried out extraordinarily nicely towards his pal and former Toronto teammate Lowry (together with a career-high 35 factors in a 2015 assembly). Lowry has all the time been a powerful defender, however small, fast level guards like Augustin can provide him some hassle.

Inexperienced had extra success when he switched ont o Augustin and that might proceed. Inexperienced mentioned he would attempt to use his measurement benefit and size to his benefit, getting up on Augustin faster and tiring him out.

In fact that would go away Lowry on the larger Evan Fournier, a shifty scorer, or Terrence Ross.

5 Simply tighten it up/combat by any residual jitters:

Openers are all the time robust, there’s a lot adrenaline and pleasure that has been constructed up that the basketball is normally lower than crisp. The veteran Raptors made numerous errors that have been out of character (like Inexperienced and Lowry throwing away a number of passes at inopportune instances, to a number of defenders falling asleep resulting in open layups or dagger three-pointers). Toronto simply must relax, and play its sport. They weren’t one of many NBA’s most effective offences by chance.

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