Two large questions heading into Raptors-Warriors Sport 2

The Toronto Raptors did precisely what they wanted to do of their Sport 1 win to open the NBA Finals. They performed good, bodily basketball on each ends of the courtroom and outperformed the Golden State Warriors in just about each key section.

What about Sport 1 is critical transferring ahead, and what changes are wanted?

Listed below are two key questions heading into Sport 2 (Sunday, eight p.m. ET on ABC).

The place are the Warriors going to get their factors?

Let’s begin with the truth that Golden State did not get sufficient buckets.

The Dubs made simply 34 area objectives, their lowest whole of this postseason. They misplaced the Three-point battle and the 2-point battle. They misplaced the transition battle. They misplaced the turnover battle. Toronto launched a physicality that muddied up the sport, crowded the perimeter, induced 17 turnovers and pissed off the Warriors ball handlers and soar shooters.

The Raps held Steph Curry — who averaged 24 area aim makes an attempt per recreation within the Western Convention finals — to simply 18 area aim makes an attempt. No person did a greater job than Fred VanVleet, who matched up in opposition to Curry 29 occasions and held him to simply two factors in these situations, per Second Spectrum monitoring. With Kevin Durant nonetheless sidelined, Curry must thrive, however Toronto made positive that did not occur with a wise and aggressive pick-and-roll protection that suffocated Steph all night time lengthy.

Golden State entered the Finals because the postseason’s greatest pick-and-roll offense, averaging 1.13 factors per play. However Toronto entered as the perfect pick-and-roll protection, yielding a miniscule zero.74 factors per likelihood.

Properly, Toronto held the Warriors to zero.81 factors per pick-and-roll likelihood in Sport 1. That is improbable.

Curry torched the Blazers within the display screen recreation within the West finals, working over 31 picks per contest whereas yielding a ridiculous 1.23 factors per likelihood, per Second Spectrum monitoring. However Toronto is not Portland, of us. Within the closeout recreation of the West finals, the Warriors scored 50 factors immediately off of Curry choose actions (which means the play led to both a shot or help alternative). In Sport 1 of this sequence, they scored 14.

1 Associated

The Raptors had been robust on the level of assault, with bigs equivalent to Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka enjoying excessive and aggressive on Curry, forcing him to both take very exhausting contested jumpers or quit the ball to gamers equivalent to Jordan Bell. The outcomes converse for themselves: Warriors’ ball-handlers, together with Curry, mixed to attain zero factors on six pictures off choose actions in Sport 1. For comparability, they scored 37 factors on 21 pictures in Sport four in opposition to the Blazers.

Just like the Dixie Chicks, the Splash Brothers love extensive open areas, however the Raptors clogged up the purpose of assault within the pick-and-roll and largely took away the transition recreation, in essence difficult Golden State to seek out various pathways to buckets. That by no means occurred.

Toronto compelled Golden State to make a disproportionate quantity of half-court and contested pictures in Sport 1. It was the precise sort of bodily, half-court recreation the Warriors would usually lean on Durant to win. (KD has made 50 p.c of his half-court pictures and 49 p.c of his contested appears to be like this postseason). However sans Durant, the Warriors made simply 40 p.c of their half-court pictures — their worst such mark this postseason — and simply 23 p.c of their contested appears to be like, their worst playoff mark within the Steve Kerr period.

One among this dynasty’s logos is its means to destroy groups on quick breaks. However the Raptors continued their defensive self-discipline from the East finals by getting again on protection, holding the Warriors to zero Three-pointers in transition.

If there are three numbers Golden State should enhance going ahead, these stand out:

The three-point differential (Toronto was plus-Three)

The transition differential (Toronto was plus-7)

Complete factors off Curry pick-and-roll motion (solely 14)

If the Warriors anticipate to regain management of this sequence, these key markers should enhance.

What’s sustainable in regards to the Raptors’ success?

The Warriors additionally should work out what to do with Pascal Siakam, who went out and had the most effective Finals debuts we have ever seen. Siakam shot 14-of-17 and racked up 32 factors, together with an eye-popping 16 factors immediately in opposition to Draymond Inexperienced, the defensive spirit animal of the defending champs.

Shout out to any voters who did not identify Siakam Most Improved Participant on their ballots.

However whereas it is truthful to say that Siakam will not try this once more this sequence, it is also truthful to imagine that Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry will not mix to shoot simply 7-of-23 once more — particularly if Andre Iguodala is not 100 p.c going ahead. Iguodala is probably going for Sport 2 following an MRI, however the Warriors are going to be cautious for the reason that harm is within the Achilles tendon space, based on a report by ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

The Warriors did a fantastic job on Leonard by holding him to solely 5 made area objectives, however a lot of that stable work was achieved by Iguodala.

Most matchups vs. Kawhi Leonard in Sport 1

Like Leonard, Iguodala earned a Finals MVP largely due to unbelievable particular person protection, and like Leonard, Iggy’s protection is amongst his workforce’s most important property. If he cannot play or function at full energy, Leonard will probably shoot and rating much more on this sequence going ahead. (Facet notice: The Warriors additionally have to button up their transition protection. The Raptors made 12 of their 15 transition pictures, together with 5 from Siakam.)

Discover all the pieces you could know in regards to the NBA Finals right here.

• Schedules, matchups and extra
• ‘Power in numbers’ in Raptors’ Sport 1 win
• The six pictures that would swing the Finals
• Predictions: Favorites and sure MVPs
• 5-on-5: Largest Finals questions
• What’s subsequent for eradicated groups? Insider

Let’s not neglect Marc Gasol, who logged his most consequential efficiency as a Raptor. It is exhausting to overstate each the direct and oblique contributions he made in Sport 1. Not solely did he disrupt Curry’s pick-and-rolls on protection — he added 20 enormous factors on simply 10 pictures on offense. However that is not all. As a stretch-5, Gasol successfully thinned out Golden State’s inside protection, opening up the lane for Siakam’s rim assaults.

When Gasol is hanging out on the high of the arc, so is his giant defender. In flip, Toronto’s drivers have quite a bit much less to fret about within the paint, and Siakam confirmed that he will be an issue if there is not any assist protection to contest his close-range buckets. Of Siakam’s 32 factors, 18 got here within the paint. No different participant within the recreation had greater than six paint factors. Whereas Siakam’s 82 p.c taking pictures will not be sustainable, his skills to trigger hassle within the dunker spot and to maneuver previous a single defender to get clear appears to be like within the inside actually are.

Toronto’s protection and the stellar play of Siakam and Gasol stood out in Sport 1. However Toronto nonetheless has a ton of labor left to do. Is Sport 2 a must-win for Golden State? Heck no. Simply ask the Raptors, who misplaced their first two video games in Milwaukee in ugly style earlier than rattling off 4 straight wins. If Toronto taught us something within the East finals, it is to not overreact to who wins the primary recreation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *