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Raptors win battle of wills in triple-OT thriller vs. Warmth


Listed here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 124-120 triple-overtime win over the Miami Heat.

One — The Raptors got here out on prime in a battle of wills towards essentially the most cussed group within the NBA. The Warmth refused to give up, despite the fact that the Raptors totally outplayed them for a lot of the evening and fought again to take the lead late within the fourth, which arrange an epic battle that wanted three overtimes to determine the winner.

Neither coach made substitutions from the fourth quarter onward, pitting their greatest gamers towards one another, and the Raptors got here out barely on prime. Remember the fact that the Warmth are the most popular group within the league, having gained 10 of their final 11 video games. The Raptors stared them down regardless of one other superhuman exhibiting from Jimmy Butler, and a lopsided 41-9 benefit in bench scoring in favour of Miami.

These are the video games that present you what the Raptors have, and why it’s best to imagine on this group.

Two — The three additional time durations felt just like the fourth quarter of a Sport 7. Each mistake was magnified and each alternative needed to be taken. Credit score to the Raptors for holding their composure, even after dangerous bounces or expensive errors, as they by no means allowed fatigue to set in. Scottie Barnes had the intuition and can to get on the offensive glass for a putback try, forcing a foul from Butler, and the rookie drained each foul photographs to maintain it tied in regulation. This got here after OG Anunoby was erroneously known as for a journey after being nudged within the again by P.J. Tucker.

After being burned on a double group the place Fred VanVleet’s task received open for 3 in triple additional time, VanVleet responded instantly with a pull-up triple and a second dagger three a short time later to push the Raptors forward. And on the finish, when the Raptors caught a break with Tyler Herro lacking a side-step three to go forward, Pascal Siakam toed the road for 2 free throws to clinch after taking part in his coronary heart out for a game-high 57 minutes.

Three — Anunoby’s defence on Butler saved the sport. Toronto totally outplayed Miami for many of regulation, sniffing out the Warmth’s intelligent dribble hand-off actions and stymieing Bam Adebayo within the submit. The one purpose the Warmth stayed shut was due to the singular power of Butler, who muscled his approach to the basket over and over to shut the hole. The Raptors led by 15 within the second quarter earlier than Butler took over, scoring or aiding on 17 straight factors to chop the deficit to 6.

The Raptors clearly needed to modify, and Anunoby was as much as the duty. Anunoby had the muscle to match Butler’s brute power, and the size to power Butler to shoot excessive, and it annoyed Butler a lot that the Warmth have been spending half of the shot clock within the fourth quarter and within the additional time durations simply to get anybody else to change onto Butler. Anunoby pressured a shot-clock violation on the finish of the primary additional time towards Butler after stripping the Warmth star a couple of minutes earlier. The Raptors additionally adjusted by sending a double group at Butler, notably with VanVleet roving over to bait Butler into choosing up his dribble. The Warmth ended up having to show to Herro for his or her offence within the third additional time since Butler was so properly coated.

4 — Siakam was a person possessed on defence. He recorded 4 steals, 4 blocks, and was diving on the ground throughout essential moments to maintain the Raptors alive. The play of the sport was Siakam taking over the Butler task, sticking with him on the drive regardless of a no-call on Adebayo hugging Barnes to open the lane. Siakam blocked Butler the primary time, then hopped inbounds to dam Butler a second time whereas screaming, “Give me that s—” because the Raptors collected the rebound. Siakam’s last-ditch efforts on the rim saved the Raptors within the sport when their offence stalled, and whereas his scoring in tight moments leaves one thing to be desired, there isn’t any doubt that Siakam is leaving all of it on the road for the group.

His decision-making was sound, as he took the suitable photographs in tight moments and made a sensible kick out to Trent Jr. that might have iced the sport besides it rimmed out and Anunoby missed the tip. Fortunately, the Raptors defence was capable of maintain sturdy on the opposite finish.

5 — Barnes was dependable in crunch time. Not solely on the clutch free throws to increase the sport, but in addition along with his playmaking. His teammates had no qualms about discovering Barnes when he had a mismatch, and he took it sturdy with out hesitation. Barnes received two fouls calls going at Tucker within the submit, which might not be a mismatch for many rookies, besides Barnes is outstanding in how he pressures the basket. Even all through the sport, there are such a lot of issues Barnes does that exhibits how sensible he’s when he’s locked in and centered. For instance, the Warmth typically fronted the submit when the Raptors tried to ascertain Siakam and Anunoby, and every time Barnes would rotate up prime to the free-throw line, to then play a fast one-two to feed the submit by making a cleaner angle along with his slicing.

Six — Trent Jr. continues to play with distinctive confidence. Trent Jr. slowed down in the direction of the top, capturing simply 1-for-8 within the last 20 minutes of the sport as he pressured up a couple of extremely contested seems, however his shot-making was essential within the first three quarter. Trent Jr. was lights out on catch-and-shoot threes, and was additionally constantly capable of create area curling round off-ball screens. He’s at his greatest when he can get the defenders backpedaling with a fast dribble transfer, earlier than stopping on a dime and getting his ft down for the pull-up jumper.

There’s additionally a sure fearlessness in Trent Jr. who is not fazed by the second. In additional time, Trent Jr. caught Adebayo on a change, crossed him up on the perimeter which had Adebayo’s leg trembling, earlier than bursting downhill the place he was crushed by two defenders which despatched him to the foul line. Trent Jr. calmly knocked down each photographs to tie the sport. Not solely did he scored 30 factors for the third straight sport, however Trent Jr. joined Kawhi Leonard as the one different participant in franchise historical past to report 30 factors, hit 5 threes, whereas additionally amassing 5 steals.

Seven — It does not matter how a lot he is struggling, VanVleet can also be good for a clutch jumper. VanVleet struggled to generate offence towards a Warmth group that saved him out of the lane, and VanVleet was even lacking open seems for some time. He was the final Raptors starter to be caught in single digit scoring, and but he didn’t hesitate when he had an opportunity to flip the momentum. VanVleet knocked down a 30-footer to place the Raptors forward within the second additional time on a play the place he was so drained that he could not even deliver the ball up a couple of seconds prior, earlier than amassing himself to knock down the kickout move from Siakam within the submit with Butler swooping in only a half-beat late on the closeout. Then, to open the third additional time interval, VanVleet knocked down two triples to place the Raptors forward, and slashed via the defence for a layup. Despite the fact that he shot the ball poorly, VanVleet scored 11 of the Raptors’ 24 factors within the additional time durations.

Eight — The Raptors rank tenth in clutch offence, however there are apparent moments the place they wrestle. The shortage of a one-on-one shot creator does finally restrict the group. VanVleet’s scoring got here in transition and on catch-and-shoot sequences, however he struggles to get his personal offence towards a set defence. Siakam constantly generates area to shoot, however has an unfortunate behavior of short-arming his makes an attempt late in video games. Trent Jr. took a stab at it and threw off his personal rhythm by hoisting closely contested jumpers. Anunoby picks his spots and exhibits no concern, however exhibits his inexperience with creating offence when he sees a second defender. Barnes usually does not get many probabilities since he’s a rookie. Despite the fact that the Raptors did an excellent job of overlaying Butler on the finish, he was nonetheless capable of constantly draw double groups and make the suitable play. The place the Raptors succeed is by getting runouts from their hyper-aggressive defence, and with their absurd 48 p.c offensive rebounding price in crunch time.

9 — The Raptors have to proceed engaged on their zone offence. It has been a pattern for the final two weeks the place groups have mounted comebacks towards Toronto’s second unit by exhibiting zone. This works particularly properly when Chris Boucher and Treasured Achiuwa are in without delay, as each gamers lack the flexibility to constantly make performs out of the submit. Having three shooters in VanVleet, Trent Jr., and Anunoby normally offers the Raptors a good outlet to go to, however the Raptors wrestle with function definition to get the preliminary paint contact that units up the kickout. There was a play within the fourth quarter the place each Barnes and Dalano Banton have been in the suitable submit on the similar time, which clearly launched spacing points. It might be an enormous assist if the Raptors may get a flooring spacing large who can set a stable display besides.

Ten — The entrance workplace must bolster this group. The apparent weak spot within the lineup is depth. It took all 5 starters scoring 19 or extra factors for the Raptors to beat a 41-9 deficit in bench scoring. Nick Nurse will get critiqued for his minute distribution, but it surely’s fairly clear why he operates so conservatively. Nurse cannot belief anybody coming in reserve for the time being, he does not have a 3rd guard to spherical out his rotation, and his choices at centre are Khem Birch who’s perpetually injured, Boucher who’s vulnerable to errors on the defensive finish, and Achiuwa who shoots free throws and layups at a 50 per cent price at greatest. There is no Kawhi Leonard commerce on the horizon, however can there at the very least be a repeat of 2017 when the entrance workplace added Tucker and Serge Ibaka utilizing the spare components on their bench?

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