Kyle Lowry mentioned it for everybody : “We’re 0-and-2 and I haven’t been this file in a protracted F&$#@ time.
The final time the Raptors have been two video games below .500 was seven years in the past immediately when the Raptors have been simply rolling into type having just lately added Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes from the Sacramento Kings in what was initially a deal orchestrated to dump Rudy Homosexual’s expansive wage and make the Raptors extra financially versatile.
The Raptors have been six video games below .500 when Masai Ujiri made his first large transfer as Raptors GM with that deal.
The workforce had shaved 4 video games off that deficit lower than three weeks later and would go on to complete 14 video games over .500. They haven’t seen the south facet of .500 since … till this season.
With Saturday’s loss the Raptors once more re-visited that two video games sub .500 territory and to say it wasn’t a welcome touchdown spot could be an understatement.
From Lowry’s displeasure there was Fred VanVleet seemingly caught speechless for the primary time in reminiscence when he was requested concerning the state of Toronto’s defence.
Head coach Nick Nurse was nonetheless doing an inner boil over a pricey game-turning name that went towards the Raptors to pay an excessive amount of heed to a second consecutive defensive egg.
It’s truthful to say the explanation the Raptors are on this early predicament is a direct results of their struggling defence.
But it surely’s additionally truthful to say this wasn’t totally surprising.
The defence that has been the spine of this workforce for a couple of years now was sure to spring a leak given the departures during the last two years.
First it was Kawhi Leonard and Danny Inexperienced leaping ship, now it’s Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka not returning.
Gone for now could be the fine-tuned chemistry that had all however grow to be second nature to this group.
The excellent news is the remaining personnel — Lowry, VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam — haven’t forgotten the best way to play defence. They simply have to seek out that chemistry with the brand new elements they’ve added to the group and get again to irritating offences like they’ve accomplished so successfully previously.
“It’s not rocket science,” VanVleet mentioned. “I don’t need to say it’s an effort factor. I really feel like guys try on the market. We’ve received to make extra performs at the next degree. It’s simple to say it on offence once you say guys have gotten to make performs, you’ve received to finish the play. But it surely’s the identical factor on defence: You’ve received to make the additional rotation, you’ve received to make the shut out, you’ve received to give you the r ebound.”
A possession with 30 seconds left in Saturday’s recreation and the end result very a lot unknown noticed the Spurs pull down three offensive boards with each OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher flailing round earlier than LaMarcus Aldridge lastly hit a jumper which put the Spurs forward for good.
“ We’re making an attempt.” VanVleet mentioned. “I believe we’ve received to carry out defensively at the next degree every possession. I believe we’re simply not doing it for a full recreation. We do it in spurts, however I believe groups are just a bit too comfy proper now, or these final two groups that we play.”
One other space each Lowry and VanVleet agree wants work inside the defence is the communication, an space each males say they’re as responsible as anybody of maybe not doing sufficient.
“Proper now that may be a quick listing,” VanVleet mentioned when requested who among the many Raptors are the very best talkers on defence. “I’m not going to present anyone credit score for speaking, myself included. We received to do a a lot better job of that. So to reply your query, all people on the workforce must be higher on that finish of the ground speaking, beginning with myself and I believe that can assist our defence out. I imply there’s no one within the constructing so there’s no excuse to not be speaking. It’s as quiet as hell on the market.”
All that mentioned, it’s two video games into a brand new season following a shortened low season and a shrunken pre-season.
To panic now could be completely opposite to what this workforce has grow to be first below Dwane Casey and now below Nurse.
The defensive rules stay the identical. The know-how is there. It’s only a matter of getting a few of the outdated to mesh with a few of the new.
“I believe it’s an adjustment for the brand new faces, that’s one,” Lowry mentioned ticking off the problems. “However I believe it’s a couple of factor. I believe it’s two video games, (a brief) pre-season. I believe it’s lots of issues that goes into that, all people making changes making an attempt to determine it out. Your defence must be a little bit bit extra forward of your offence proper now, and we’re simply type of even proper now with the whole lot, and it’s a model new state of affairs for everyone … We’ve simply received to determine it out ultimately for our workforce.”
The Raptors will follow immediately in Philadelphia earlier than taking up the Doc Rivers-coached ’Sixers on Tuesday night time.
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