Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey got schooled in Sacramento


For Toronto Raptors fans, watching the last eight minutes or so of Sunday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings was torture. The Raptors had overcome yet another sluggish (I’m being kind) start, and had found their range from beyond the arc. With 6:42 to play, a DeMar DeRozan jumper pushed Toronto into a 10-point edge.

After that, the wheels came off the Raptors offense, and it careened into the ditch after another DeRozan jumper restored a 5-point margin with 2:52 remaining. Our guys never managed another point, and the Kings took advantage to win going away.

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Any team’s shooting can go cold; that’s not news. What I was upset about, and still am, was how Dwane Casey allowed the Kings to clamp down on the Raptors’ scorers in crunch time. Bismack Biyombo played all but 36 seconds of Q4, despite having offensive skills which wouldn’t allow him a spot on a D-League team. When the Raptors tried to play high pick-&-roll, the Kings simply ignored Biyombo and concentrated on the ball handler. If a roll man isn’t a threat to score, there’s no sense running the set. Yet the Raptors did, time and again. Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas was getting splinters on his butt. He “played” nine seconds of Q4. Why bother? James Johnson can post up anyone on the Kings except perhaps DeMarcus Cousins. JJ played 3:40 in Q4, without a shot.

Nov 15, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) passes the ball against Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-101. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Raptors opponents have an annoying habit of scouting our team, and they know by now to “pack the paint”. DeMar DeRozan has made the adjustment, and is quite happy to drive and kick, particularly so now that DeMarre Carroll is back to offer a 3-point threat. But when the Kings abandoned Biyombo, and forced the Raptors to play 4 on 5 (with a congested paint), our offense flatlined.

Dwane Casey has been emphasizing defense since last season’s humbling takedown in the playoffs. That’s OK, but his responsibilities don’t end there. He’s got to get a clue offensively, or turn that part of the game over to a trusted assistant, like Nick Nurse. Jay Triano wasn’t an NBA coach, in my view, but he certainly could run an offense.

Casey played not to lose, with a defensive-minded quartet that he hoped could somehow retain the lead. Maybe that approach could work against another opponent, but not this one. Casey has to accept that sometimes you just need to outscore the other guys. Besides, it’s not like the defense was clicking on all cylinders – how many times did Rudy Gay show up at the basket, unguarded, to accept a dish from Rajon Rondo for the world’s easiest two points?

Dwane Casey has a lot of positives as a head coach. But unless he figures out how best to use his offensive resources, this Raptors season could go downhill fast.

Next: Mistakes against Kings lead to defeat

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.