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Raptors literally got in the zone in their latest victory

Raptors literally got in the zone in their latest victory
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The Grizzlies did a fine job of negating Kawhi Leonard for most of the night by doing what the Raptors are going to have done to them a lot as the season progresses:

Sending a second defender.

Any time Leonard got the ball below the free throw line extended, a second guy came to help or at least shade to help and Leonard didn’t handle it particularly well early the game.

On one play he did: Seeing the double, kicking the ball out to Serge Ibaka and he quickly moved it on to Danny Green, who made his second three-pointer of the game, a relatively wide open shot.

They’ll see more of that, I’m sure, because the Raptors – last night’s torrid fourth quarter notwithstanding – aren’t the best three-point shooting team and Leonard is a bully with the ball down low.

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Extending the time

I’m not exactly sure how many possessions the Raptors played a zone defence in that second half but it was far, far, far more than usual and it worked entirely to their benefit.

Good teams can quickly figure out how to beat zones and many have so many good passers the only reason to play the trick defence is to gain the element of surprise every now and then.

But as Nick Nurse said after the game, necessity became the mother of invention.

“I was getting tired of not guarding them so I thought I’d try a little zone, and it got them a little [out of rhythm], that’s what you use it for, the nights where you try to get them out of rhythm a little bit. Fortunately, it worked. We kind of put it on and put it off a little bit, and it kind of got us to a good stretch in the third.”
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