Raptors dominate at both ends as the series turns
|Toronto Star 17 Apr 2019 at 10:27|
We spoke a fair amount about the decision to leave Leonard in after he got two fouls in the first 2 ½ minutes in the quick game over story and alluded to it in
But even with that, the Raptors still finished the first quarter with Pascal Siakam out there with four backups and that might have been as a big a gamble as sticking with Leonard.
Not sure I’m a big fan of those lineups – and I like them marginally better if it’s Lowry out there – but in the couple of minutes they went with it, the lead only shrunk from 11 to eight and that’s got to be considered a win.
If there was one downside to the night – and it was sort of hard to find one – it’s that Fred VanVleet struggled for the second night in a row. Two points in 21 minutes or so probably isn’t something the Raptors can live with on a nightly basis.
There’ll be a bunch more on this later on today – we’re already planning the two off-day stories because two off days is one too many – but what the Raptors are doing to render Nikola Vucevic basically inconsequential is pretty dang impressive.
Marc Gasol is gobbling him up on one-on-coverages and when Gasol rests and Vucevic is still in the game, the Raptors are doubling him a lot in the post and forcing a lot of turnovers.
Vucevic had four turnovers and only seven field goal attempts in about 26 minutes and unless he and coach Steve Clifford can figure out a way to get him unlocked, it’s hard to see a way Orlando wins another game.