News flash: If the Raptors shoot 27 per cent from three-point range and 36.3 per cent overall from the field in the next game, they will lose it, too.
Doesn’t matter who plays, who starts, who comes off the bench, who does what. That kind of shooting loses games.
And it really was more about Toronto missing shots than any wondrous defensive effort by the Sixers. Sure, the matchup changes momentarily befuddled the Toronto offence but the number of open shots that just didn’t go in was the story of the night.
So analyze all you want, they shoot like that, they won’t emerge victorious.
Here’s the thing, though: I don’t imagine they will so channel that angst and anger you feel to something important, like the crappy weather or the number of high schools cancelling important classes because of reduced staffing levels.
But there were some things …
Early warning signs
Yeah, Danny Green missed that good look in the final few seconds and he missed a three with Toronto down 77-70 that was crucial because it was followed by a Jimmy Butler three-point play on the very next possession and those might be the ones you remember best.
But if you were looking for a sign of things to come, there were two possessions in the first quarter that portended what was to come.
Both came off the Raptors doing all the right things. The second defender went hard at Leonard on the wing across the court from the Sixers bench, he got off the ball quickly and go it to Gasol at the top of the arc and Gasol swung it quickly to Green in the corner.
On the first one, Green hesitated a split second, got caught surprised by a defender closing at him fast and instead of pump-faking to let him go by, Green travelled into a turnover.
Second time, basically the same thing. Double, kickout, swing pass and Green couldn’t get the shot off before a Sixers defender got to him to block his three-point attempt.
One of those nights started early.
There weren’t many highlights. But this was one.
So, what do they do?
Well, we’ve got two off-days to think and write about it and a practice later this morning to ask some questions so we’ll leave some of that for later on.
The quick answer, though, is exploit stuff more and more often.
Maybe more Gasol initiating the offence from the post if he’s guarded by Harris and a double-team comes; maybe finding more early pick-and-pop shots for Ibaka so he can’t ease into the game as he tends to do.
Lots of options, lots of time to figure stuff out before Thursday night.
Time for a change?
I don’t think there’s much they do about the rotation, to tell you the truth, so that’s maybe a moot question.
Ibaka has to play – Gasol’s not a 42-minute a night guy by any stretch of the imagination – and VanVleet and Powell have to play because players need breaks.
They just have to play better and, frankly, it’s 1-1 in the series and never mind Butler’s 30 points, I think you can easily make the case that Toronto lost last night’s game rather than you can say Philadelphia won it.
And there is a difference there.
Nobody wants to hear this and the anger and vitriol I got last night aimed at everybody but Leonard was shocking but these guys really aren’t in dire straits.
More shots from the bench – 11 field goal attempts spread over basically three guys in a total of about 47 minutes isn’t nearly enough – and more guys have to make more shots.
More? Just a bit before I get into the day.
If you somehow did the unspeakable and miss what we did last night …
I know my way around Philly pretty well and can usually find a good dinner spot around 2nd Street but if anyone’s got a gem for one of the two off nights that we’ll have time to get out, I’m all ears.
The word had been out for a few days, I think, but Canada Basketball made it official yesterday.
The men’s senior team will play Nigeria in Winnipeg on Aug. 9, one of two domestic games leading up to the World Cup in China at the end of August, beginning of September.
Not sure where the other game will be played at the moment – you’d figure they’d got west from there because they have to be in Australia for games in Perth on Aug 16 and 17 and that’s the general direction they’ll be heading. But you never know and when I find out, you will. I hear Hamilton but nothing is confirmed by a second or third source.
And, no, there is no word on a new head coach yet; the process remains a process. There’s no real rush, actually. The group even hinting that it’d be done by the first of April seemed a bit farfetched because it’s a huge decision and if it takes until June to get the right guy, who cares?
They can’t screw this up – a fact we’ve made clear more than a couple of times – and making the right choice is far more important than making a fast one.
You can always count on Oak.
We should probably start the process of putting together the weekend mail, right? Plus, I like hearing from some of you.
Go to [email protected] and do what you do, there’s no practice tomorrow and it’s a quick flight so I’ll have time to get started if you do your part.
- Markelle Fultz shows both timidity and triumph in Sixers’ win against Bulls
- Home crowd helps Markelle Fultz go from timidity to triumph in Sixers win
- In Chicago sports, playing to win is a losing game
- Hobbs snaps Las Cruces High's 13-game district win streak
- Aaron Judge blares 'New York, New York' walking by Boston Red Sox clubhouse after ALDS Game 2 win
- Chris Sale will not start Red Sox ALDS Game 4 vs. Yankees if Boston loses Game 3 to fall behind 2-1, Alex Cora says
- Alex Cora: Boston Red Sox rally message wasn't directed at Yankees; for 'people that gave up on team after losing Game 2'
- Jackie Bradley Jr. delivers another big homer as Boston Red Sox move within one game of World Series with dramatic Game 4 win
- MLB playoffs: Dodgers reach World Series with Game 7 win vs. Brewers
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Max Muncy, Joc Pederson power Game 1 win