Opening night wasn’t pleasant for the Toronto Raptors, as they go under .500 for the first time since 2014.
Wednesday night marked the start of the 2020-2021 season for the Toronto Raptors. A game that the Raptors looked to put their stamp on early, quickly turned to an ugly turnaround as they lost to the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite the opening night loss, there were many positives along with negatives, to take away from the Raptors’ first game of the season.
#1: Third quarter collapse
This game was a tale of two halves. A game that the Raptors had completely in their control, quickly turned into an onslaught by the Pelicans from the third quarter on. The majority of it wasn’t even due to what the Pelicans were doing to the Raptors, more so Toronto’s inability to score on the offensive end.
The woes the Raptors went through on offense, clearly affected the intensity on defense. Transition defense was weak, to say the least. On multiple occasions, Lonzo Ball was wide open from three on lackluster defense from the Raptors. Ball himself had 13 points in the third quarter alone, which was more than half of the points the Raptors as a team scored (22).
It’s understandable when JJ Redick has it going from three, but when Eric Bledsoe begins to convert shots from outside, that’s a serious problem. The Raptors were unable to contain a single player on the Pelicans. With the offense being non-existent, and the defense faltering, it was the recipe for a defeat.