The Toronto Raptors seemed to have found their kryptonite

Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Though they normally win in convincing fashion, the Toronto Raptors seem to have had their weakness exposed after losing against certain matchups time and time again.

Apart from the obvious choice of the Golden State Warriors, there seem to be two other teams that are a threat to the Toronto Raptors. Before you start thinking of the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers, think again and think hard. I present to you, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets.

The Raptors have faced both of each of those teams twice thus far and have dropped both games. The more alarming fact is how Toronto was blown out from 2 of 4 games.

October 29th, 2018:

December 16th, 2018:

86. 81. 95. 73. Final

Underlying Weaknesses

Few teams have been able to defeat Toronto in such fashion, making it an impressive win this year. Watching the Raptors struggle against the same teams – not once, but multiple times – makes this a matter of concern. With the playoffs quickly approaching the NBA, Toronto must heed and learn from these defeats.

Throughout the series of games (against Denver and Milwaukee), Toronto’s shortcomings really stood out. While many expected a competitive game, the Raptors were outclassed in multiple ways.

Both teams, Milwaukee and Denver, managed to hold Toronto at an overall shooting percentage of roughly 40%. Furthermore, in both blowouts, the Raptors only managed to shoot 20% from beyond the arc. As much as fans would like to chalk this up as just a bad night, much of the credit must go to the superb defenses of both teams.

As good as the Toronto Raptors are, these two teams may just be better… for now. The Denver Nuggets boast both a better ORtg (113.07) and DRtg (107.42) while the Milwaukee Bucks boast a better DRtg(105.8) and a league-best NRtg (7.77).

Pesty Symptoms

The Raptors concerns don’t stop at just poor shooting. Missed shots constantly generate rebounds and the Toronto Raptors just aren’t the best at collecting them. While the Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks both rank near the top of the NBA in REB%, the Raptors are average, ranking 14th.

Furthermore, when we narrow down the statistic and focus on defensive rebounding, the Toronto Raptors again rank 21st while the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets rank 1st and 5th.

This is a fixable issue but if not addressed appropriately, it can become a major issue during the playoffs. It’s bad enough to shoot poorly against defensively sound teams but to allow the opportunity for a large number of second choice points is a dangerous game that can yield costly results.

Kryptonite or a Temporary Lapse?

While the Toronto Raptors did have a strong start to the season, they seem to be slowly slipping back to their old ways as we approach the playoffs.

Next. Toronto Raptors Roundup: Surviving without a full roster. dark

The Raptors are generating a tendency to struggle against defensively sound well-rebounding teams, much like the ones they’ll likely meet in the playoffs. If not addressed soon, Raptor fans may be in for another repeat of their 2017-18 NBA season.