Celtics-Raptors 2nd Round--Dethrone the Champs

BaseballJones

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I wouldn't expect Brown to hoist 11 3PA again. He had never attempted that many in his previous 330+ games.
Toronto is obviously trying to make him shoot, as they take away other options. He doesn't need to make them at a high rate. Just at a not-awful rate.
 

Euclis20

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I wouldn't expect Brown to hoist 11 3PA again. He had never attempted that many in his previous 330+ games.
Regular season. He's had 12 3PAs in a game twice, both in the 2018 playoff run (5/12 against Milwaukee in game 2 of the first round, 3/12 against Cleveland in game 7 of the ECF).
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I am not sure Toronto wants Jaylen Brown uncovered shooting. Like at all.

IMO, too much is being made of one game. Brown shot 38% from three this year vs a league average of just under 36%. And its not like the Raptors solved him or something. He shot 50% from deep this season against them while attempting more threes against only Brooklyn all season. He is also shooting 45.3% from deep while attempting the fourth most attempts for his career vs Toronto.

Make or miss...
 

Euclis20

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I am not sure Toronto wants Jaylen Brown uncovered shooting. Like at all.

IMO, too much is being made of one game. Brown shot 38% from three this year vs a league average of just under 36%. And its not like the Raptors solved him or something. He shot 50% from deep this season against them while attempting more threes against only Brooklyn all season. He is also shooting 45.3% from deep while attempting the fourth most attempts for his career vs Toronto.

Make or miss...
Beyond that, it seems like the corner 3 is his shot. That's my first thought from watching him shoot from there all season, here are some numbers:

During the regular season, Brown finished 38.2 percent from three. From the left corner, he shot 47.1 percent. From the right corner, he hit 50 percent.
.

Make or miss indeed. We'll definitely live or die with him taking those corner 3s.
 

benhogan

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Regular season. He's had 12 3PAs in a game twice, both in the 2018 playoff run (5/12 against Milwaukee in game 2 of the first round, 3/12 against Cleveland in game 7 of the ECF).
Yep, regular season.

JB hasn't been shooting them well lately, expect/hope the ball pops/moves more, like Game 1.

More corner 3s, less of the other variety would be optimal
 

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If you can't wait for the start, check out this fantastic Jared Weiss breakdown of how Stevens and Nurse are strategizing and counter-strategizing in real time as they struggle for supremacy:


In Game 1, shooting luck fell in Boston’s favor, but its offensive execution seemed to earn it. But just look at the distribution of assisted field goals in Game 4, courtesy of NBAViz. The Raptors are finding ways to create good 3-point looks for each other or hit their rolling bigs in ways the Celtics can’t even compare.

Boston actually executed well defensively for much of the Raptors’ 32-point third quarter, generally surviving Kyle Lowry’s best period of the night. But there were moments like the one after Daniel Theis survived a “veer” onto Fred VanVleet, shutting down the play until he failed to box out O.G. Anunoby, who grabbed the missed 3-point attempt and threw it down. Then Rob Williams entered the game.

The Raptors know that Williams can shut down the first action in front of him, but he can be overwhelmed by the required persistence and awareness to shut down a 24-second possession. So they attacked him in high pick-and-rolls, getting VanVleet a headstart to get downhill. The Celtics were stealing a page from the Raptors’ playbook and “pinching” in on VanVleet with the weak-side elbow defender.

What better way for one grandmaster to try to take down another than by using his enemy’s own strategy against him? The risk, of course, is that the target has seen opponents attack him countless times and he knows which of their approaches works. So Nurse turned VanVleet into Steph Curry.

As Grant Williams sunk in on the drive, VanVleet kicked it out to Lowry positioned out on that elbow. Kemba Walker was guarding VanVleet and left him to contest what he expected to be a Lowry shot. Williams, whose job was to pinch and then recover, did the same thing. As they were duplicating their closeouts toward the sideline, VanVleet relocated nearby and Lowry swung it to him against the momentum of the defenders. Williams did an admirable job to turn back again and contest, the defensive equivalent to running suicides. But the defense was already dead.

On the next play, the Celtics tried to “ice” a Lowry pick-and-roll, but Serge Ibaka never set the screen, Brad Wanamaker and Williams just went where Lowry wanted them and Ibaka ended up with a wide-open 3. VanVleet followed it with another pick-and-roll flowing into a give-and-go with Lowry, where this time Walker just forgot about his man, VanVleet, after the ball left his hands. Toronto had blown open its biggest lead, and Stevens had to make a change.

Marcus Smart came in for Walker and the Celtics started switching perimeter actions. The difference was apparent right away, as Toronto couldn’t lose anyone on the perimeter and the Celtics weren’t caught in rotation underneath. The Celtics were still constantly losing the ball or running sloppy actions on the other end, but they were getting some stops and the potential to seize momentum was there.

“Missed some free throws, missed some 3s, but we’re right there,” Stevens told TNT’s Allie LaForce after the third quarter. “We’ve got to play a little bit better to start this quarter to give ourselves a chance. But we were here a couple games ago, so we’ve been here before.”

As Stevens’ answer finished playing on the broadcast, Jaylen Brown attacked through traffic to get to the line just as Stevens explained how Toronto mixes up its defensive structure to move the big around. Toronto was in a Box-and-1 on Jayson Tatum, blocking him from running his go-to “Stack” play after he carved through the Raptors’ defense in the third quarter.

On the other end, Pascal Siakam posted up Tatum and the Celtics wing defended him perfectly into a tightly contested fadeaway. But Tatum was called for a phantom foul, which triggered him to run down the floor in disbelief. While it may have been karmic justice for an erroneous foul call on Siakam guarding Tatum in transition earlier in the game, the Celtics star was clearly pressing on offense and seemed to lose the ball every other possession in the fourth quarter.

But the switches were working. Grant Williams was stepping up and taking on Toronto’s guards, who were just coming after him possession after possession. He got five stops in six possessions over the next several minutes, with the only bucket being a well-defended Lowry isolation step-back that nobody could have stopped.

Then Nurse found his countermove. He has been trying to find a balance between running straight-up pick-and-roll with his point guards with side-to-side actions in the fourth quarters of this series. With the Celtics switching everything so that they could keep the ball in front of them, Nurse went back to big looping handoff actions to make the Celtics switch at high speed.

Follow VanVleet’s path through this play after the ball leaves his hands, as he tries to draw a giant smiley face. VanVleet passes the ball on the right side, runs in a giant loop around the frontcourt, then emerges for a ball screen for Lowry on the other end. Walker is chasing him and then has to switch onto Lowry with his hips open to the middle, allowing Lowry to spin off him and get a headstart into the paint.

Before this action, it was perplexing why Siakam and Ibaka were standing shoulder to shoulder in the weak-side corner, a formation that seemingly never exists in the NBA. But as Lowry advanced and Grant Williams had to step into the lane, Ibaka quietly tiptoed behind Brown, who was too focused on Siakam to remember Ibaka was just over his shoulder. Once Ibaka got past him, the play was over.

Boston was able to stay in its switch scheme for a little while longer because Toronto kept putting the ball in Norm Powell or Siakam’s hands, which in this series has meant that the play was going nowhere. But the Raptors were able to run one post-up for Siakam on Brown, who no longer could defend Siakam physically because he was in foul trouble and surrendered a post jumper. Then Grant Williams picked up Powell on a switch and ate him alive, but Ibaka hard rolled with Walker desperately fighting to stop him and was able to catch the rebound and lay it in easily.

It became clear that Ibaka and Siakam were going to kill Boston at the rim if the Celtics didn’t get big and stick to their matchups, so Stevens brought Theis back in for Williams. The Celtics were now going to change their scheme from switch and stick to switch and kickout. This meant that instead of just switching screens and staying with your new assignment, Walker, specifically, was going to switch screens and then a nearby teammate would tag team in for him onto the big man and he would sprint out to the weak side to find another guard to cover. The Celtics have used the scram switch frequently against bigs, where they would do this during the entry pass to the big. But Boston was using a kickout switch to just do this preemptively.

Smart truly showed his versatility on these plays, picking up Siakam and once again shutting him down. But watch how Boston used a delayed double-team akin to its scheme against Joel Embiid from a few weeks ago, before the Celtics did not corral the loose rebound. This happened several times in the final minutes, perhaps the big separator in the end when they were keeping it a two-possession game. That should have been a stop, but instead, Toronto used a rare double pindown screen on the inbounder to stall Tatum in his chase of Lowry to get its star guard an open 3. Boston could have made it a one-possession game if it had grabbed the rebound. Now it was an eight-point game with less than five minutes left.
In the actual article there are a bunch of video clips supporting that analysis (and it continues on from there), but that should give a taste.
 

Jimbodandy

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That's a good piece.

Big fan of today's effort. Particularly like how they seem to have adjusted to the overplay of the ball-handlers out high (Kemba and Tatum), as we seem to have set plays for Brown or Smart when that happens (with seals downhill). Toronto took it away once that I remember tonight (and clearly is slowing down those guys with it), but we got a bunch of easy baskets and good looks out of it too.

Good focus and efforts on both ends. Whatever hangover they had from the last .5 of game 3 seems to be over.
 

TripleOT

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The defensive adjustment of Smart slowing Lowry to start the game was a good one. It also got a longer defender to run out on OG when the ball finally swung over to him, in Tatum.

Smart and Theis were so solid on both ends. Celtics are tough to beat when they play well and two of their big three go for 20+
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I like that Brad was willing to shorten up his rotation for this one. All the starters save Theis would have booked 40 minutes if this wasn’t a blowout.
 

bigq

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I like that Brad was willing to shorten up his rotation for this one. All the starters save Theis would have booked 40 minutes if this wasn’t a blowout.
Yep. Wanamaker was the only bench player to get more than 10 minutes despite the blowout and at the end of the day he had a pretty solid outing going 5-9 from the floor (including 3-5 from three) with 3 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal in 28 minutes.

Would be great to have Hayward back for this series but I think we will see him in the next one.
 

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Yep. Wanamaker was the only bench player to get more than 10 minutes despite the blowout and at the end of the day he had a pretty solid outing going 5-9 from the floor (including 3-5 from three) with 3 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal in 28 minutes.

Would be great to have Hayward back for this series but I think we will see him in the next one.
O turnovers too, which is huge. He had an very good game.
 

lovegtm

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That's a good piece.

Big fan of today's effort. Particularly like how they seem to have adjusted to the overplay of the ball-handlers out high (Kemba and Tatum), as we seem to have set plays for Brown or Smart when that happens (with seals downhill). Toronto took it away once that I remember tonight (and clearly is slowing down those guys with it), but we got a bunch of easy baskets and good looks out of it too.

Good focus and efforts on both ends. Whatever hangover they had from the last .5 of game 3 seems to be over.
I really need to re-watch this one. It felt like Stevens had a completely different gameplan to counter the attention to Kemba and Tatum. The Celtics also had a lot of really simple stuff to take advantage of the predictable pinch-downs from Toronto, which they do even on the strong side. Wanamaker was particularly impressive attacking off the bounce in those scramble situations--really under-rated part of his game.

...
The Raptors can’t reliably generate half-court offensive advantages, and the Celtics have a great transition D, so points are hard to come by. This is especially rough on Siakam.
...
Everything after that is mostly shooting variance, which will likely still swing 1-3 games to the Raptors before this is over. It’s very unlikely they can win 4 out of 5 on that basis, however.
I really hate that I was right about the shooting variance part, and this series is far from over. But the Raptors still have yet to have a decent offensive game 5 games in now. The Celtics are just a completely brutal matchup for them on that end: every possession is an utter grind.

Finally, Pascal Siakam is lowkey a shit half-court offensive player, and I would downweight his regular season performance heavily in the future when predicting what he'll do against locked-in playoff defenses.
 
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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Was just about to echo your earlier post. I will add that Sikam isn't as bad as he's looked - its that they are focusing on him while letting anyone not named VanVleet and Lowry shoot.

Boston can still lose because these are games of focus and execution given the familiarity between the teams. However it should now be evident how valuable it is to have three+ (because Marcus belongs here) credible to great shot creators. Its almost impossible to stop that offense if they play off one another when they are cooking.
 

lovegtm

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Was just about to echo your earlier post. I will add that Sikam isn't as bad as he's looked - its that they are focusing on him while letting anyone not named VanVleet and Lowry shoot.

Boston can still lose because these are games of focus and execution given the familiarity between the teams. However it should now be evident how valuable it is to have three+ (because Marcus belongs here) credible to great shot creators. Its almost impossible to stop that offense if they play off one another when they are cooking.
Wrt shot creators: totally agree, and this can be taken even further. I loved the adjustment by Stevens to play Wanamaker heavy minutes. He's not a shot creator, but he is decisive and presses the advantage when Toronto is in a scramble situation. Huge adjustment against this specific team.

There was one particular play around 3:45 in the 1Q where Toronto went zone, Wanamaker got it in space, drove decisively to force a rotation, and then dumped to Theis. The more ball-handlers out there the better against these schemes.

Wrt Siakam: I'd argue he's just as bad as he's looked, at least against Boston. They're leaving guys out there 1-on-1 against him, and he simply can't generate advantages. I do think that there are better matchups for him, against teams that don't have infinite 6-7 strong wings.

A final thing to watch for, unrelated to who is good or bad: Siakam looked tired as hell this game on defense. Nurse really spread his minutes butter thin the past few games, and I think it's starting to show.
 

lovegtm

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Here's a representative example of Boston not helping on Siakam:

He gets the ball in space against Tatum, and the other 4 defenders barely even look to help. They all stay glued to their men. Siakam drives, and has to force up a prayer that probably had a ~25% chance of going in. He's just not compromising the Celtics base defense in any way.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Here's a representative example of Boston not helping on Siakam:

He gets the ball in space against Tatum, and the other 4 defenders barely even look to help. They all stay glued to their men. Siakam drives, and has to force up a prayer that probably had a ~25% chance of going in. He's just not compromising the Celtics base defense in any way.
I am very curious to see data on how many sequences he is defended one on one. They are leaving Ibaka and Gasol a lot and I see a lot of help going Siakam's way - my eyes could be fooling me. I don't deny that Tatum or Brown and Smart can check him one on one while even Seal Team Theis has slowed him. However I see him as their focal point on defense pretty often.
 

lovegtm

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I am very curious to see data on how many sequences he is defended one on one. They are leaving Ibaka and Gasol a lot and I see a lot of help going Siakam's way - my eyes could be fooling me. I don't deny that Tatum or Brown and Smart can check him one on one while even Seal Team Theis has slowed him. However I see him as their focal point on defense pretty often.
Yeah, I would (very politely, in a friendly tone) suggest watching more closely. They send help late sometimes when he's well into his move, but they're rarely willing to compromise the base defense to double or even stunt too hard on him.

There have been some hairier moments when they run the 4-1 PnR to get Kemba switched on to him.
 

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A couple of thoughts wrt to the Siakam/defense of Siakam analysis you guys are making: the C's defense of him is effective to the extent that they aren't in foul trouble (and specifically the primary defender). Once the Raptors smell blood in the water with fouls they just start amping up their downhill flow and then destroy any rotational help attempt - we know that's their offensive bread and butter. The other is that their seems to have been an ebb and flow to the mental energy level in the series - corresponding to the physical exertion of course. Lowry for example seemed exhausted yesterday after the minutes he played in G3 and G4. In the fourth, Nurse played a lot of minutes with his entire 2nd unit (w/ VanFleet) physically pushing the Celtics starters on the floor. Stevens left his starters out there to just seal off the W (no complaint on my part), but with the possible consequence of the Raptor's starters being fresher for G6, or maybe more sharp down the stretch. A fresh Siakam gets some of his swagger back against a slightly tired C's defense in my mind. Add to that the likely injection by the NBA of referee levels of difficulty (Brothers anyone?) and I'm expecting another absolute slog for G6... unfortunately leading to a G7 where a Lowry explosion can do the most damage.
 

lovegtm

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A couple of thoughts wrt to the Siakam/defense of Siakam analysis you guys are making: the C's defense of him is effective to the extent that they aren't in foul trouble (and specifically the primary defender). Once the Raptors smell blood in the water with fouls they just start amping up their downhill flow and then destroy any rotational help attempt - we know that's their offensive bread and butter. The other is that their seems to have been an ebb and flow to the mental energy level in the series - corresponding to the physical exertion of course. Lowry for example seemed exhausted yesterday after the minutes he played in G3 and G4. In the fourth, Nurse played a lot of minutes with his entire 2nd unit (w/ VanFleet) physically pushing the Celtics starters on the floor. Stevens left his starters out there to just seal off the W (no complaint on my part), but with the possible consequence of the Raptor's starters being fresher for G6, or maybe more sharp down the stretch. A fresh Siakam gets some of his swagger back against a slightly tired C's defense in my mind. Add to that the likely injection by the NBA of referee levels of difficulty (Brothers anyone?) and I'm expecting another absolute slog for G6... unfortunately leading to a G7 where a Lowry explosion can do the most damage.
I mean...this sounds nice re Siakam, but he's generated shit shot quality all series, and the Raptors have been bad offensively in every single game. He looks better when some of those mid-post shots go in, but it's not quality offense.

I should clarify though: he's a good player, it's a horrible matchup for him, and he's miscast as a leading man in the playoffs.

Contrast this with someone like Tatum, who has had some bad games in this series, but is consistently forcing the Toronto defense into compromises in order to handle him.

Agree that we could see some Game 6 refball, and that the series is far from over. A bit of shooting variance and the Celtics will be headed home, despite being (imo) clearly the superior team. Such is life in the playoffs against good teams.
 

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Yeah, I would (very politely, in a friendly tone) suggest watching more closely. They send help late sometimes when he's well into his move, but they're rarely willing to compromise the base defense to double or even stunt too hard on him.

There have been some hairier moments when they run the 4-1 PnR to get Kemba switched on to him.
Siakam just isn't strong enough to beat a quality man defender. Brown has largely owned him, and Tatum is probably an even worse matchup for him. He's a useful player, but he's a third-scorer type not a go-to guy. He is great in transition and good when the guards create matchups for him. But he's not a great shooter (36% this year, 33% career), and while I kind of like his slithery post game he has to be able to do it against quality defenders for it to matter. Something material has to improve in his game for the reality to match the hype.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Masai looking to deal him this offseason---not beacuse he's bad (he's a very good player for sure. when you figure in the defense) but because his perceived value exceeds the reality: smart basketball people were asking "Siakam or Tatum?" in the regular season and I think the playoffs have shown him to not be anywhere near that level.
 

lovegtm

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Siakam just isn't strong enough to beat a quality man defender. Brown has largely owned him, and Tatum is probably an even worse matchup for him. He's a useful player, but he's a third-scorer type not a go-to guy. He is great in transition and good when the guards create matchups for him. But he's not a great shooter (36% this year, 33% career), and while I kind of like his slithery post game he has to be able to do it against quality defenders for it to matter. Something material has to improve in his game for the reality to match the hype.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Masai looking to deal him this offseason---not beacuse he's bad (he's a very good player for sure. when you figure in the defense) but because his perceived value exceeds the reality: smart basketball people were asking "Siakam or Tatum?" in the regular season and I think the playoffs have shown him to not be anywhere near that level.
If Giannis isn't happening for whatever reason, the Warriors would be a great fit for a megadeal there.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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A couple of thoughts wrt to the Siakam/defense of Siakam analysis you guys are making: the C's defense of him is effective to the extent that they aren't in foul trouble (and specifically the primary defender). Once the Raptors smell blood in the water with fouls they just start amping up their downhill flow and then destroy any rotational help attempt - we know that's their offensive bread and butter. The other is that their seems to have been an ebb and flow to the mental energy level in the series - corresponding to the physical exertion of course. Lowry for example seemed exhausted yesterday after the minutes he played in G3 and G4. In the fourth, Nurse played a lot of minutes with his entire 2nd unit (w/ VanFleet) physically pushing the Celtics starters on the floor. Stevens left his starters out there to just seal off the W (no complaint on my part), but with the possible consequence of the Raptor's starters being fresher for G6, or maybe more sharp down the stretch. A fresh Siakam gets some of his swagger back against a slightly tired C's defense in my mind. Add to that the likely injection by the NBA of referee levels of difficulty (Brothers anyone?) and I'm expecting another absolute slog for G6... unfortunately leading to a G7 where a Lowry explosion can do the most damage.
The other thing to remember is that in G4, TOR got a ton of points off 2nd chances (20+, IIRC) and that seems to be an outlier. We knew going into the series that TOR wasn't good in the half-court so to me, so long as BOS gang-rebounds, they should be OK.
 

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The other thing to remember is that in G4, TOR got a ton of points off 2nd chances (20+, IIRC) and that seems to be an outlier. We knew going into the series that TOR wasn't good in the half-court so to me, so long as BOS gang-rebounds, they should be OK.
Good point, on the defensive side the Cs want to gang rebound, on the offensive end they want to get back to defend the transition game. Again though, foul trouble impacts a teams aggression on the boards.
 

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My favorite part of last night's game was Jalen chucking up a bad air ball and the camera cutting to Kemba and Jalen laughing about it. A nice bit of leadership by Kemba making sure the young guy stayed loose.
 

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If the C's come out strong again in Game 6, you'd have to think the Raps will fade away. The bubble situation is unique, and you'd have to think in the back of their mind they'd start to think "Looks like we don't have enough this year, let's go home already".
 

lovegtm

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If the C's come out strong again in Game 6, you'd have to think the Raps will fade away. The bubble situation is unique, and you'd have to think in the back of their mind they'd start to think "Looks like we don't have enough this year, let's go home already".
If there’s one team I DON’T expect to have that mindset, it’s Toronto.

Also, for all the crap I’ve given Siakam, he and OG are real problems for Tatum defensively when JT isos. They’re quick and long enough that he hasn’t been able to get to that stepback.
 

DeadlySplitter

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If the C's come out strong again in Game 6, you'd have to think the Raps will fade away. The bubble situation is unique, and you'd have to think in the back of their mind they'd start to think "Looks like we don't have enough this year, let's go home already".
the Raps could have packed it in down 10 at the half in game 3, or down 2 with 0.5 seconds left. they aren't packing it in.
 

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If there’s one team I DON’T expect to have that mindset, it’s Toronto.

Also, for all the crap I’ve given Siakam, he and OG are real problems for Tatum defensively when JT isos. They’re quick and long enough that he hasn’t been able to get to that stepback.
I agree. No way that's happening. They didn't give up down 2-0 in the series. They're not giving up if they fall behind by 10 points in the first quarter. They're not giving up until they're dead and buried. I know they don't have Kawhi anymore, but this team is the defending champs because of more than Kawhi.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Interesting. Just because I was curious, here are the numbers from G3. Turns out KL actually shot 2 for 2 when guarded by Marcus (plus one FT).

Still, if I were Brad, I would be comfortable with Marcus, JB, or JT guarding KL one-on-one. It's when KL gets switched onto Kemba or a big man that he does more damage. From the piece of the Athletic article posted above, it seems like Brad has gone to some counters to this.

34045
 

Jimbodandy

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FWIW I'm partial to mostly Marcus alone on Lowry. Lowry is as good as it gets in generating contact (real and perceived), and I don’t want JB and JT getting in foul trouble. Marcus is smarter and more likely to draw one on Lowry himself.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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So I am looking at the Advanced Stats boxscore and its hard to derive doubling out of the data they show. That said, I even recall SVG discussing how the Cs were "loading up" on Siakam - I am not sure there is an actual disagreement here as much as its semantics. I have watched a bunch of sequences and it seems like they are flashing help a lot with him. That said - of Siakam, VanVleet and Lowry all drew the most defenders total (nine each) yesterday which makes perfect sense.

Those are their biggest three offensive players - I still stand by my view that they are throwing more bodies at Siakam than others.
 

Euclis20

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So I am looking at the Advanced Stats boxscore and its hard to derive doubling out of the data they show. That said, I even recall SVG discussing how the Cs were "loading up" on Siakam - I am not sure there is an actual disagreement here as much as its semantics. I have watched a bunch of sequences and it seems like they are flashing help a lot with him. That said - of Siakam, VanVleet and Lowry all drew the most defenders total (nine each) yesterday which makes perfect sense.

Those are their biggest three offensive players - I still stand by my view that they are throwing more bodies at Siakam than others.
Siakam is a lot easier to double because his way of creating shots in half court is to back guys down. That takes a lot longer than what Lowry (driving into the paint) or VanVleet (getting free for an outside shot) try to do. He's also by far the weakest passer of the three, making double teams more effective.

That said, from what I've seen the Celtics are perfectly happy with Smart/Brown/Grant/Semi/Tatum taking him straight up. He doesn't look to back down Theis or Timelord, and he's rarely matched up with Wanamaker. Switched onto Kemba is an obvious help situation (and a matchup that Toronto hunts), but otherwise the Celtics seem to be content to let him go at it without much help.
 

DJnVa

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From Sean Grande:

20% of all Celtics leads this season over 22 points have come against Toronto.
33% of all Celtics leads this season over 30 points have come against Toronto.


Also--Raptors have only lost 7 games this season by 15 or more points. Four of them are against Boston.


It's just not a good matchup for them. Nurse is good, and they have talent and that's why they can figure things out, but Boston *should* be about to counter just about anything they throw at them.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Theis gets a bunch of credit in holding down Lowry too. Lowry got to his spot several times, but the presence of Theis under the basket either forced a pass or Lowry dribbling toward space.
 

RetractableRoof

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Theis gets a bunch of credit in holding down Lowry too. Lowry got to his spot several times, but the presence of Theis under the basket either forced a pass or Lowry dribbling toward space.
Yes, since he stayed down and didn't bite on the up fakes, etc. Harder for Lowry to create the 'veteran/crafty' foul calls.
 

reggiecleveland

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I was clamoring for this in the game threads since Game 3. Glad Danny find read that!
The chess match that goes on is how to avoid switching off the matchup you want, or switching into it. For example Smart may guard the guy Tor wants to pick for Lowry, forcing Toronto to go to a 2nd option. Seem Marcus prioritized finding Lowry in transition, rely on big help from Theis while Kmba Brown talked through disarming the VV bomb. What will Nurse do? I think if Toronto can't get stops and run they know it will be hard. I will guess To tries to get Gasol going a bit to make Theis less aggressive. They way refs pick on Theis I would pound it at him and see if you can attack Time Lord
 

chilidawg

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The chess match that goes on is how to avoid switching off the matchup you want, or switching into it. For example Smart may guard the guy Tor wants to pick for Lowry, forcing Toronto to go to a 2nd option. Seem Marcus prioritized finding Lowry in transition, rely on big help from Theis while Kmba Brown talked through disarming the VV bomb. What will Nurse do? I think if Toronto can't get stops and run they know it will be hard. I will guess To tries to get Gasol going a bit to make Theis less aggressive. They way refs pick on Theis I would pound it at him and see if you can attack Time Lord
I wonder if SVG's rant about how unfairly Theis was getting called will help at all.
 

DJnVa

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If the C's come out strong again in Game 6, you'd have to think the Raps will fade away. The bubble situation is unique, and you'd have to think in the back of their mind they'd start to think "Looks like we don't have enough this year, let's go home already".
If that was a thing the Heat would’ve swept Milwaukee
 

saintnick912

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I was surprised they didn't go at FVV more after he picked up three early fouls. Having him out and Smart on Lowry really limits the Raptors choices on offense.