The Raptors stars need to trust their teammates.

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 21: Kyle Lowry
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 21: Kyle Lowry /

The Raptors had a hard fought battle with the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors unfortunately, lost in crunch time 112-117, but it wasn’t in vain.

The Toronto Raptors showed their depth with young guys like Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Jakob Poeltl combining for 40 points. Notably, Jakob Poeltl put up a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds on 54% FG. Although Serge Ibaka and CJ Miles struggled to find a rhythm from deep, they kept pace with the Warriors. The Raptors had a three-point lead against Golden State with one minute and five seconds remaining. Then, everything that could’ve gone right went south for the North.

Lowry and DeRozan: Share the spotlight, please


With about a minute remaining on the clock, the Raptors duo went back to an extinct playstyle. Not only has isolation plays not worked for the Raptors duo in the playoffs, it won’t work against the NBA champions.

Kyle Lowry, who struggled all game finishing 5 for 18 (27.8%) attempted an isolation jump shot that missed. The Raps paid for it immediately. The Warriors thrive off their amazing offensive transition. Once Kevin Durant got the ball, it was like an NBA finals replay when Durant sunk the transition three over Ibaka.

The Raptors had a full timeout to draw up a play to regain the lead, but DeRozan settled for another isolation jump shot. The visitors once again paid the price, as Stephen Curry drained the three. Then with 16 seconds left, Lowry put a nail in his own coffin attempting a contested jump shot that was blocked by Klay Thompson.

DeRozan and Lowry are some of the best isolation players in the league, but it’s time to give it a rest. The Raptors sparked a comeback by getting everybody involved and making great defensive stops. Once the Toronto stars settled for Isolation plays, it allowed Warriors to come alive in their transition offense.

Learn to Trust your Teammates

TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 19: OG Anunoby /

Regardless of ball movement and the team effort that forced a comeback, some people believe DeRozan and Lowry HAVE to take shots in the clutch. There are tons of stars who get an isolation game-winning shot to fall. The responsibility of being a star and getting the ball in the clutch is to make the right play to win the game. In the 1997 NBA Finals game, Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen didn’t HAVE to take the shot just because of their stars.  Jordan gave the ball to Steve Kerr to hit the game-winning three because that’s what superstars do: they find the best possible way to win games.

Not all the time is a star gonna make a big-time shot, neither will a role player. Most would probably prefer Lowry taking a three to win the game over CJ Miles. But the defense is focused on the two stars, your job should be to draw the defense and find an open teammate. The Raptors’ dynamic duo, unfortunately, is too used to the spotlight, which is something they need to work on.

So far the Raptors duo is averaging more passes and has toned down their isolation frequency from last year. If the Raps focus on team-oriented offense throughout the season, they’ll improve significantly. The Warriors game gave us a good sample of what to expect from the guys stepping up off the bench. This proved more than anything that Toronto can keep pace with the NBA champions.

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