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LX
Yeah well Dan, Siakam did not make the defense worse. That just isn't going to happen. He got called on a ticky tack type of foul that was not getting called at the other end. And he had nothing to do with the Dunn steal that cut the lead in a hurry.

It wasn't all on the bench as far as blowing the lead goes. The Raptors offense was swell through the third, and yet they saw the lead shrink as the Bulls exploited Jonas mismatches effectively, or exploited transition opportunities that sometimes arose from Jonas being slow to get back. The Bulls did not just get “unsustainably hot” on offense. That feels like a worse copout than my wanting to have seen a more balanced whistle. The Bulls have a ton of good shooters and they played together and played smart. They also defended well and got good opportunities with pressure and hustle. That seems pretty sustainable. And not having Jonas in there for them to attack was a plus, not a minus, in my mind. I've liked the more spry Jonas so far this season, but to me there is a real ceiling to his overall impact whenever he plays more than 22 minutes, except when matchups dictate otherwise. He does do good things with screens and rebounding, but the defensive breakdowns that he opens up eventually catch up to the positives. I think it's important for this team to recognize that and to see the room for added impact that Siakam can provide. So i stand by my being happy with some of that recognition taking place.

In the end we saw the Raptors mostly blow the doors open on a Bulls defense that hadn't given up 100 points in their last three games. And we saw a decent start followed by a strong second quarter on both ends. Giving up so many open threes was about as disappointing as the threes they were finally able to convert. But all in all it feels like there is more to work with in terms of pinpointing where improvements can be made. They need to zero in on transition D. When it's good this team is really hard to beat. When it's not so good it puts pressure on other areas that might prove a little frail during any particular stretch. And if that is where they are going to hang their hat to make the quicker pace work, than I gotta think Jonas' slowness getting back is a sore spot while his screens are not as sorely needed.
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LKeet6
DanH wrote:


Wow, I hated the move to put Siakam in.  The defence got worse, not better, after the sub, and the team stopped scoring to match the Bulls.  JV was out there for 2 minutes, during which the lead went from 10 to 8, despite the Bulls catching fire on jumpers and Ibaka fouling jump shooters like a moron.  Then they subbed Siakam in and it was a 3 point game in no time, and were lucky it was only that - the first two possessions yielded wide open threes for the Bulls that they missed, then of course the crappy offence gave up transition looks leading to a parade to the free throw line for the Bulls.  

The lead got blown by the bench, JV subbed in and helped hold the fort, then subbed out and the lead blowing was almost completed by the Siakam group.  

At a certain point, a hot offence is just that - hot.  Chicago's scoring in the 4th wasn't sustainable until the Raps started fouling them on every play and giving up transition looks.  And the best way to counter a hot offence is to score with them.  Taking away any decent screeners from that lineup and leaving DD and KL to create on their own just meant there was no way they were going to be able to score to keep up with the Bulls if they stayed hot.  But, good news, they didn't, they missed their open shots, and we survived it.  

But end of game shenanigans and silly subs are run of the mill, we're used to that.  The disappointing bit in this game, for me, was the bench unit slacking off the effort in the 4th.  Weird to see from them, on the defensive end at least.  Not really surprising they went cold, that lineup is a risk to forget how to score in any given game.


excellent summary.

I've just finished watching it, and it definitely seemed that way to me. Bench had its moments, but it was them that lost leads...
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DocHolliday
Northern Neighbour wrote:


I thought he was sent to the G League.


I'm not sure, Bruno has to sign off on it as well as the union being that this is his 4th year.
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DocHolliday
Northern Neighbour wrote:


I thought he was sent to the G League.


Oh, nvm, he was sent down yesterday lol, probably why I didn't see him on the official roster yet.

I'm excited to see McKinnie play - have good feels for his future with the Raptors.
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DanH
JV had the third best on-court DRTG on the team in a) the game and b) the third Q.  The defence was worse without him on the court.

His DRTG was ridiculously bad in the 4th (in that teeny sample size), but so was everyone's, and at least the Raps were scoring with him on the court in the 4th (which is all you need with a lead).  

Seriously, transition defence was not a problem at all in JV's 4th Q minutes - all the points were scored in the half court for the Bulls, and they didn't even attempt a shot within the first 10 seconds of the clock once in those 2 minutes.  And once he subbed off the Bulls' transition game took off because the team started turning the ball over and taking tough isolation jumpers, which is worse for transition D than any slow defender is.  

With JV in the game, the Bulls hit two off-the-dribble jumpers at about 15 feet, which the best off the dribble shooters in the game (read: not the Bulls) manage about 50% on, and hit two free throws (because Serge fouled a jump shooter).  That's the extent of the scores the Bulls managed while JV was on the court in the 4th Q.  I feel like we must not have watched the same game.  

I really, really don't like the team over-reacting to the opponent hitting pull up jumpers, and going small, and settling into their own worst offensive habits as a result.  I find it very hard to be encouraged by that.

Ultimately, I agree with this sentiment: JV's defensive breakdowns eventually catch up to the positives he brings.  Similarly, the positive things he brings tend to catch up to the defensive breakdowns.  He's a safe bet to stabilize the Raptors' play most nights, and break even over most stretches, making him the perfect candidate to play when the team has a lead to protect.  Which they did, last night, and which his lineup was protecting admirably until he was removed from the game.  

I'm not making some overall argument for more JV here.  I'm saying in that specific scenario, I think the worst move they can make is subbing in Siakam for defensive purposes and sacrificing offence.  And that's exactly how it played out - and it almost bit them in the ass.  Heck, they got saved by an offensive rebound putback from Serge Ibaka of all people.  I don't like the team putting themselves in scenarios where Ibaka grabbing his one offensive rebound per game in those final minutes might be the only reason they don't blow it.
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LX
I certainly could have lived with Siakam coming in for Ibaka. That might have been the best way to go overall. And that might be what we see in the future. On this night though, Ibaka was working hard and trying to get a good foothold of his role. It was a very good thing that he had a big impact play at the end. That was set up by very good play (not at all perfect, but very good) throughout the game. Generally he had his head on straight and was executing well on both ends.

Siakam's role does look to be something of a fourth quarter stopper. I'd like to see a bigger role than that, but for now that's where his impact is going to get felt. He is disruptive and not such a problem on offense. So I don't see the subbing as silly or shenanigans or an over-reaction, but rather something they are going to be prone to doing.

And Jonas giving up jumpers from the free throw line is not so easy for me to stomach. Neither is looking to keep the lead by continuing to score. To me that's what happened through the third, and that gave Chicago a good deal of confidence. The Bulls won that quarter and had all the motivation they needed to bring even more effort defensively to try and steal the game.

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DanH
The Bulls winning a quarter after being down huge is not surprising though.  Every team lets off the gas a bit with a big lead, and leads tend to explode into the 30s based on when garbage time starts and how the garbage lineups perform.  

As I noted, the team was significantly worse defensively with Jonas off the court in the 3rd.  There were definitely defensive issues in that 3rd Q, and if JV had gotten a hook early in that Q to try to pump up the defence a bit, I'd have been fine with that, as you are right, the lackadaisical defence up and down the roster with the lead was problematic - though judging by the defensive performance when he sat it would not have helped.  My issue is the move to try to stiffen the defence late in the game by sacrificing offence in a specific scenario where you need to keep the Bulls at bay for a few minutes to win the game.  3 minutes left is not the time to be abandoning a strategy that was working to maintain a decent lead.

Giving up jumpers at the free throw line is absolutely less than ideal as a long term strategy.  But trying to make up an 8-10 point deficit in 3 minutes when your best looks are off the dribble free throw line jumpers is very, very difficult, no matter how clean the looks are, and that's even if you consistently get stops at your own end (the Raptors scored on 3 of 5 possessions with JV on the court).  That's my argument.  That the warts that are problematic very often with JV were totally acceptable in that one, specific situation.  That's all.  
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DanH
For the record, I thought both JV and Serge should have stayed on the court.  Siakam shouldn't have subbed in at all.
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