Milwaukee battled back from a poor shooting night to steal Game One from the Toronto Raptors. They will look to take a 2-0 lead tonight in Game Two and we decided to bring back our good friends over at Raptors HQ.
Toronto appeared to lose some steam near the end of Game 1. They only went 8 deep and the bench played just 13-17 minutes. Do you think Nick Nurse needs to try and give Kawhi/Lowry/Siakam some more rest?
I think much of the lethargy we saw from the Raptors’ second half can be largely attributed to the seven-game series from which the team barely escaped. Unfortunately, Toronto’s bench hasn’t given Nurse much reason to trust them. Norman Powell played relatively well compared to his fellow benchmates on Wednesday night, but that’s not saying much. Fred VanVleet continued to disappoint, and Serge didn’t provide nearly enough energy, or accuracy, to warrant more minutes.
In theory, Serge’s quickness and length match up well against Brook Lopez, who plays all over the floor. However, Nurse would need extra bodies on the inside to combat Milwaukee’s rebounding, which leads to a conundrum. The Bucks decimated the Raptors while Gasol and Ibaka shared the floor together, contributing a net rating of -48 in nine minutes of action. Siakam and Gasol, however, posted a net rating of 13.2, the best of any two-man combination playing considerable minutes.
Unfortunately, Siakam only grabbed six boards – for comparison’s sake, Khris Middleton had 11 – and the Raptors desperately need Pascal to improve on that front.
Who is someone that needs to step up their performance for Game 2?
Marc Gasol is the first name that comes to mind, though there are others. He looked hesitant all night and struggled mightily with his jumper. On the defensive end, he didn’t fare well either, getting absolutely torched by Lopez.
Danny Green has been far too passive, constantly allowing himself to get trapped by aggressive defense on the perimeter. However, we can’t place the blame entirely on him; Nurse knows Danny isn’t a great dribbler, and still hasn’t figured out a way to consistently free him up with off-ball screens.
Pascal Siakam looked better on Wednesday than he did in Game 7 against the 76ers, but he still didn’t play up to his standards. Siakam really needs to can his corner threes at a rate closer to his regular season percentage (36.9% from three in the regular season, 29.7% in the playoffs) for the Raptors once-potent offense to reemerge.
What adjustments (if any) should Toronto execute?
In Game 1, the Raptors’ offensive scheme wasn’t particularly ineffective. In the first half, they got plenty of open looks and hit a bunch of shots. Unfortunately, once the exhaustion set in, Toronto’s shooting regressed. Actually, let’s put it this way: Toronto’s shooting almost entirely disappeared. The entire Raptors team (save for Kyle and Kawhi) shot a disgusting 1 for 23 in the second half.
On top of their offensive troubles, Toronto gave up way too many transition buckets, letting their fatigue get the best of them. As well, it seems the Raptors decided to stop trying to grab rebounds entirely, letting the Bucks restart possession after possession with numerous offensive boards.