The Toronto Raptors have a tough game against Portland next on the schedule.
Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors gave us a spirited performance against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco last night, but a solid performance from Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher inside was naught but ash in the hands of Steph Curry, who broke out of his haze to nail a clutch three late and help lead Golden State to victory.
The Raptors don’t get a ton of reprieve, as they have to refocus and prepare for a matchup against Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers.
With a 2-8 start staring them in the face, Nurse needs to make these three adjustments if he wants to leave Oregon with a win.
The Raptors need to tweak their style of play in order to upset the Trail Blazers.
1. Try to get OG Anunoby on the perimeter as often as possible on defense
In Toronto’s new-look lineup that worked well on this West Coast road trip, the Raptors put Siakam at the center position, rotating him with Boucher, while OG Anunoby moved into a power forward spot given his muscle and long wingspan. Unfortunately, Nurse might need to shuffle his lineup after just two games, as the Blazers are a team that will live and die by Lillard and McCollum, who are averaging 21 three-point attempts per game, raining down three-balls all game long. Nurse needs to put Anunoby, his best defensive stopper, out on one of these two for the entire game.
With Fred VanVleet merely an average defender and former conference Defensive Player of the Year Malachi Flynn still working his way into the rotation, Anunoby remains the only player on the roster that Toronto should feel comfortable asking to lock horns with either of those two for large chunks of the game. Terry Stotts wants to get teams to leave the paint with solid deep shooting before going to work on the interior for uncontested shots at the rim. They only way to keep this Ferrari of an offense in first gear is to force Anunoby to slow down that dynamic duo on the perimeter.