The Toronto Raptors dropped their second game this week to the Brooklyn Nets with some players not performing to their capabilities.
In what should have been a winnable game for the Toronto Raptors turned out to be a close one that came down to the final shot and the Brooklyn Nets played it perfectly.
With the ball in Kawhi Leonard’s hand, the Nets didn’t give him any space forcing him to pass it off to Kyle Lowry who gave to an open Fred VanVleet who had his shot bounce off as time expired. It was a big win for Brooklyn who ended an eight-game losing streak.
However, when you look at this game it was clear that the Raptors had more to do with the result than what the Nets did and this is something Nick Nurse will look to address. An obvious thing is an overreliance on Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry who have played well but recently, only one has shown they can shoulder the load.
Lowry hasn’t looked himself the past couple of games and only had three points in 36 minutes against the Nets. Simply put that’s not going to get the job done even though he continues to distribute the ball at a high rate.
Whether it’s some lingering pain from his recent back injury or an adjustment he needs to make, Lowry will face some pressure if this type of play continues especially with the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town on Sunday.
Leonard has been the total opposite for the Raptors turning up another strong performance after he had a statement game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Everyone knows what Kawhi is capable of defensively and if he continues to put up stellar offensive numbers, he’s earned serious consideration as an MVP candidate.
Unfortunately, it’s the players around their star that has the Raptors searching for answers especially their offence from beyond the arc. Kawhi was five-for-six from three-point range, but the rest of the team was a combined six-for-29, that’s not going to cut it in today’s NBA.
The Golden State Warriors scored 19 three-pointers against the Bucks and if the Raptors want to make sure they can keep pace, their offence is going to have to be better. They can’t go 39 per cent from the field which is what they shot against the Nets who aren’t exactly a top defensive team.
Hopefully, Lowry can take some of the pressure off the team by making more than one three-pointer a game.