Did the Raptors Get a Defensive Handle on the Nets?

Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets

That game was brutal. Let me just comment on how annoying James Harden was on the court with his dramatic flings of nothing. Like dude… you’re literally just missing the princess crown on top of your head. Anyways, the Raptors take the win over the Nets and I am content with how they handled it defensively.

Vanvleet didn’t play as I expected. Coming off his career high against the Magic, his momentum on offence fell short today. Right in the first quarter, Vanvleet’s shots weren’t finishing, only coming up with a 0.25 FG%. 

Defensive Handle on the Nets… Yes or No?

So what was the game plan? The Raptors needed to get a defensive handle on the Nets right off the bat. The Nets are one of the lowest defensive teams in the league right now, so it should’ve been a breeze right?

The Raps got a handle a couple of times throughout the game by closing down the paint and double teaming on key players on the team outside at the perimeter. This created a change of space for the Nets to work with, creating turnovers a couple of times. With the Nets scoring 61.1% in FG, that obviously shows the offensive power the Nets have.

Toronto Raptors vs the Brooklyn Nets
Pascal Siakam with 33 PTS, 11 REB, and 6 AST against the Brooklyn Nets

What caught my attention was their defence in the second quarter. Seeing them collectively use their bodies when the Nets would drive in the paint was a plus, not to mention Lowry’s magic on receiving his charges. There was also a change of pace in the game when this started to happen. This created more stops and overall a more difficult experience for the Nets offensively. 

The Raptors are not a defensive heavy team this season, especially since they lost Ibaka and Gasol. However, the Raptors showed off by collecting 10 steals and 6 blocks, displaying their eagerness on defence.

The NBA Referees…

Finally, the referees in this game were not that easy to tolerate. Creating make up calls against the Raptors killed the momentum of the game. They started finding calls that were non-existent, bringing the Nets to the line 15 more times than the Raptors. Of course, Harden led everyone on this one.

Conclusion:

Overall, I was proud of the performance of the Raps. Both teams played with great effort. I was kind of getting some playoff vibes as well. The drive, resilience, and annoying foul trouble for the Raps sound all too familiar. But with the win, this came to be one of the many exciting games the Raptors have played this season. 

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