OG says “Kawhi who?” while keeping his Raptors afloat

Raptor coach Nick Nurse began Thursday’s “must-win” Game Three against Boston with a new focus to his offense, namely Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol who attempted 12 of their squad’s first 13 shots. The pair combined to shoot 7-for-14 in Q1 (despite MG sitting out the last five-and-a-half minutes), the rest of the team just 4-for-12. [Those “others” would bounce back over the final 36 minutes, going a more respectable 19-for-44.]

Kemba Walker’s 17-point Q1 outburst matched the Raptor duo in a back-and-forth Q1 that saw seven lead changes … overall, this tilt would have a dozen ties and 16 lead changes.

In a presumed coincidence – or is it superstition? – the Raptors have attempted exactly 40 three-point field goals in each of these first three games against Boston. [3FGA’s had ranged from 35 to 47 in their first-round sweep of Brooklyn, and on the season averaged 37 per game.]

OG Anunoby’s game-winning final attempt – the Raps’ “lucky” thirteenth connect on the evening – made him 3-for-5 from Three Point Land (.600) … better than his evening’s work at the foul line (.500) and for “deuces” (.333).

The (almost) Game Winner
“Depth” Perception

Excluding the six-minute Q2 contribution of Matt Thomas, Nurse seems to have trimmed his playing rotation to seven players, riding three starters for 40+ minutes. Lowry and backcourt mate Fred Van Vleet each came within a foul of disqualification.

To Toronto’s advantage was super-sub Norman Powell appearing to rediscover some rhythm to his game.

On the other side of the coin, what’s up with Enes Kanter’s right shoulder – and is that the reason his minutes have dwindled this series?

Of course, one man’s setback is another man’s opportunity – and young Robert Williams is stepping up aggressively.

The Bottom Line

Tip your cap to Kyle Lowry, this was his “Climb on my back, boys!” moment … but that’s always a tough performance to duplicate.

And few teams have a “Next Man Up” when it comes to that particular duty.


FG: C’s – 39-83, .470
3FG: C’s – 9-29, .310
FT: C’s – 16-21, .762 [8 conversions]
TS%: C’s – .566
OR: C’s – 7 + 4 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR: C’s – 37 + 2 (team) [minus 5 FT rebounds]
TO: C’s – 14 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 95 {48 “Empty”}
PPP: C’s – 1.084
CV%: C’s – 47 / 95, .495
Stripes: C’s – 4 [2 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: C’s – 49 / 95, .516 {expected production, 98 points}

FG: Tor – 41-88, .466
3FG: Tor – 13-40, .325
FT: Tor – 9-16, .563 [6 conversions]
TS%: Tor – .553
OR: Tor – 6 + 5 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR: Tor – 33 + 2 (team) [minus 2 FT rebounds]
TO: Tor – 13 + 0 (team)
Poss: Tor – 96 {49 “Empty”}
PPP: Tor – 1.083
CV%: Tor – 47 / 96, .490
Stripes: Tor – 6 [3 conversion]
Adjusted CV%: Tor – 50 / 96, .521 {expected production, 100 points}

Note re Calculation & Notation:

The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value. For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.

“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s) – FT OR’s

“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions

“Stripes” calculation: 3FG’s – missed FTA’s

TS% = True Shooting Percentage

PPP = Points per Possession

CV% = Conversion Percentage

Abacus Revelation for the Road

You know how you get happy when a Giannis or Embiid makes an early three-pointer against the C’s, figuring such shot selection will work to our advantage in the long run?

I get a similar feeling when Toronto’s Pascal Siakam starts to channel his inner Magic Johnson and decides to handle the ball on a fast break, rather than fill a lane.