Big effort but streak snapped!
Unfazed by Crowder and took his time backing him up and twisting his way to the point of attracting a double, after which his decision-making has been impeccable of late. With the Raptors offense stagnant was forced to produce against a set and disciplined defense, which he did well in breaking down. Was in foul trouble throughout the game but didn’t let that affect his toughness on either end. Another all-around solid game against a very good team. Did miss the pull-up with 40 seconds left which would’ve given the Raptors the lead.
Got the start as Scottie was out and did not have a good game. Some aimless drives, a couple misses from clean looks, and couldn’t weigh his release on the drive/floaters and was ultimately benched for the second half. What was noticeable is that he doesn’t seem to have a read on what pass to make when he puts it on the floor. There’s often a moment of hesitation which allows everyone to catch up.
Was guarding Booker a couple nights after checking Ingram and bothered him to no end, essentially taking out a big part of the Phoenix offensive engine. He’s still living off offensive scraps and needs to be more integrated because asking him to pick up the slack on-demand (like in that second half) isn’t something he’s always going to be comfortable with. Did “carry” the group in that third with 7 points on 3-4 FG, and a bit when Siakam went to the bench in the fourth. Had two excellent defensive plays against Booker which gave the Raptors a chance.
This comment applies to Boucher and Achiuwa as well – Phoenix runs a high screen looking for a switch which has Ayton (or one of their other big men) diving and taking the guard deep. Then it’s all over. The Raptors conceded too many such opportunities early with the bigs not necessarily anticipating the play.
Birch wasn’t offensively available as the Raptors, unlike against New Orleans, never got a two-man game going. He was reduced to a rebounding role against guys who are simply quicker.
Picked up a very early foul but it did not stop his defensive aggressiveness, which as usual, seems to spur him offensively. Frustrated Chris Paul in the first half by pushing him well beyond the three-point line at times. Was hot on offense early but cooled off as Paul tightened up, but still managed to create looks for guys who just weren’t hitting them. With the Raptors looking for a three and Fred handling the ball, Phoenix played him very well not allowing the bombs to go off.
Birthday boy! Huge offensive rebounding game continuing the trend of having the motor on full gear. Also had some nice contests late in the fourth on what should’ve been easy points for Phoenix. Gave it his all. A couple unnecessarily aggressive close-outs and a couple bone-headed plays (that play where he let Paul steal the ball in fear of a double-dribble?!), especially against deadly three point shooters like Booker doesn’t sit well. His three-point shot has deserted him with each release more technically flawed than the previous. Make sure to read Samson’s fantastic piece on Chris Boucher.
He looked like he was in no-man’s land every time. Took a bad three and seems to make questionable decisions when given time. It’s almost better when he doesn’t have to think about what to do.
Got a run in the third with Nurse looking to extend the floor with the offense grounding to a halt.Didn’t do anything of substance except get some offensive rebounds when everyone was missing shots.
Disappeared soon after coming in never to be seen again. Didn’t do anything of substance.
His team was seemingly not aware that they had a foul to give when Phoenix wasted precious time off the clock after the late OG score which cut it to one. Unacceptable.
Extended the defense to start the game which caught Phoenix by surprise and gave the Raptors the early upper hand. It took Phoenix a while until they figured out how to move the ball in the face of such pressing.
Got nothing from Champagnie, Svi or Yuta and after that didn’t seem to experiment with anything else. Maybe this was more of a Banton game where you look to push instead of going up against a very good Phoenix half-court D.
Achiuwa really pisses me off. who told him he has the green light to shoot the damn ball?
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Big effort but streak snapped!