By: Papa Minnow

Dear Raptors,

For a team that’s been impressive all season and shown they can contend this year, last night’s game was a bit worrisome for what to expect come the post-season.

Now I’m not ready to count you guys out by any means, but it seems that the loss against OKC which ended your streak, has seeped into the team’s psyche and affected your play as of late.

In the past 10 games, you guys have had a defensive rating of 112 points per game which ranks 28th out of 30 teams. And the game against the Cavs was no different as you gave up 112 points.

The worst part about the loss was that it came at the hands of an almost 40 year old Jose Calderon, who I just found out has a net worth of 2.3 BILLION DOLLARS!…along with Jeff Green’s show out night. These are guys who the Raptors’ starters should have no issues defending on any given night.

It appears that lately you guys think you can just come out and play and still take care of business and that just hasn’t been the case. Especially on the road in a building where you guys have only won once in the past 11 games.

To reiterate my point about your nonchalant play, turnovers have been an issue. And it’s not so much the amount but the context in which they occur.

Last night you guys had 11 turnovers which is not a terrible amount, but the problem was that those 11 turnovers were converted into 21 points. Conversely, you guys turned the Cavs over 12 times, but only managed to get 15 points off those turnovers. Against a run and gun team like the Cavs, taking care of the ball is one of the highest priorities.

Which leads to my next point. To keep pace with the Cavs, you guys have to make shots. Hitting open threes is what led you guys to victory in the first matchup against the Cavs and what kept you guys close in the second meeting.

And in that style, it’s become apparent that JV can’t play. I love JV, and all the work that he’s put in this year has paid off, but when it comes to the Cavs who go small with mobile bigs, JV can’t keep up.

On the defensive end the Cavs roast him by getting him involved in high pick and rolls in which he’s too slow to contain or contest the shooter on. Conversely, if he cooks offensively by dominating in the paint, the Cavs come right back with the three ball.

So for every two shots the Cavs make, JV has to score three baskets which isn’t always guaranteed because of how the offense is dictated.

And that’s been the major difference between you guys. The Cavs have knockdown shooters, guys who if they get the ball beyond the arc, you know they’re going to make it when they need it: Kevin Love, Jose Calderon, Kyle Korver, and even J.R. Smith if he’s feeling it.

Whereas you guys have good shooters, but they all come at the price of being streaky. Outside of Lowry, VanVleet and Miles (who’ve all been streaky lately), there isn’t another player I would put in the knockdown category.

And that’s fine as long as you get guys to contribute in other ways. For example, I know Lowry went to the Villanova game and I thought that win would inspire him, but he had a poor showing all around.

However, usually if Lowry doesn’t have it going offensively, he’ll find other ways to impact the game, whether that’s grabbing offensive rebounds, taking a charge, or locking an opposing guard down defensively, he’ll contribute.

But last night was a bad optic for him to go to the game and come out with such a poor performance in a game that has some significance late in the season.

So with all that being said, here’s my proposal for what you guys should do against the Cavs: Nothing against LeBron.

“Papa you’re crazy.”

I know, it sounds absurd, and I don’t mean absolutely nothing against LeBron. What I’m going for here is that you let LeBron score at will. Have your best defender on him, but have everyone else essentially pack the paint to flash if he decides to drive, but not commit (unless they can) so that they can guard the perimeter shooters.

I’m all for LeBron going off for 50, but if it means the rest of the team is taken out of the game then that’s fine. LeBron’s best comes from when he’s able to attract the defence and get his teammates involved. If you take that part of his game out then he’s forced to go it alone.

And no one man has ever been able to beat a five man team so I feel it’s worth a shot.

I don’t know that it’s a guarantee, but it’s something you guys haven’t explored and the gravity you give him now hasn’t worked so might as well try something new.

OT

To: Ibaka

You played well last night, missed some bunnies, but overall props on showing up.

To: Bench Mob

You guys have been great all season long, but when LeBron is out of the game that’s when I expect y’all to dominate the Cavs weaker bench. It’s one of our better shots of winning. Also, Siakam you can’t be scared to slam on Tristan Thompson. Forget the layups and just dunk. At the very least you might get fouled.

To: Kyle

I get you wanted to support your guys before the game, but not only have you already witnessed Villanova win before, but you got the chance to catch the Eagles win a Super Bowl. I’m not saying you’re not free to go support, but it looks bad when the team needs you to show up and you have a bad game all around. Just because you show up to work, doesn’t mean you’re effective.

 

 

 

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