Toronto Raptors: 6 Revelations from Game 4 loss to Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: DeMar DeRozan /
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Toronto Raptors
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 22: DeMar DeRozan /

5. Raptors’ Culture Reversion

Culture change is hard to implement and even harder when the players stay the same. The Toronto Raptors’ isolation ball was a staple for the last two seasons, known for being efficient and low in turnovers, it severely lacked creativity. The regular season was a tame animal; you only see opponents a few times during the year and the dates are always spread out.

The playoffs proved to be a different animal but same beast. The predictability of Toronto’s offence centred on Lowry and DeRozan made them easy to stop. So they stopped and remixed their approach.

Ball movement and team ball became the forte of this year’s Dinos and they flourished into a 59-win team, with a squad people thought was lesser than last year.

Enter crunch time of Game 4. I grimace watching these possessions:

The Raptors are still DeRozan’s and Lowry’s team and at their heart they’re pick and roll, isolationist players. Playing along youngsters that have never part of a playoff run doesn’t help either. It was a one man show in crunch time; pass DeRozan the ball and get out-of-the-way time, and it failed. Miserably.

From the outside, it’s hard to tell whether this is a coaching issue or DeRozan constantly breaking the play. However, for it to happen multiple times even after a timeout, it seems like coach Casey let this happen.

If not, he should consider switching sides so he can coach his offence in the second half instead of his defence. Yes you can really do that.

Rule 4 section one in the NBA official rule book states, “The visiting team has the choice of baskets for the first half. The basket selected by the visiting team when it first enters onto the court shall be its basket for the first half.”

Teams have done it before. It just so happens that teams regularly chose to shoot in front of the opposing benches in the second half, so their coach can be more involved on the defensive end down the stretch. But the Raptors can flip that convention on the road (where they struggle the most offensively) and really help their ball movement come crunch time.