The Raptors lost to the Warriors last night, and are now just 2-8 in their last 10. They’ve been a bad defensive team all season, but last night really showed the totality of their futility lately. They’re playing like the incomplete, mediocre team they were early in the season, rather than the red-hot team that was contending for the fifth seed a month ago.
And after the game, Chris Bosh was, in the words of the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith, seething. Smith relates a litany of quotes from Bosh that tell the story of a star player extremely frustrated with his team’s effort, just four months from being a free agent. Here’s a choice one:
“We come out here, we talk about it, we have a billion meetings but
we can talk all we want. Unless we do it, it really doesn’t matter. We
talk about the third quarter, we talked about the third quarter
(Friday), we talked about it at shootaround (Saturday) and we go out and
do the same thing. I don’t know.”
The Raps are now just a game and a half ahead of the Bulls, who are an abject mess right now. The Raptors had been one of the hottest teams in February, clicking in every phase of the game. Then Chris Bosh missed some time with an injury, and the team never recovered. As built, they are simply an incomplete team.
Bosh is a fantastic player, but not so good as to recover when his teammates struggle, and his teammates struggle continuously. Most notably, Hedo Turkoglu has been terrible this season, and the money the Raps spent to acquire Turkoglu looks like the worst expense of last summer’s free agency.
All of those factors are leading more and more to the possibility that they won’t have the same opportunity to keep their big free agent this summer. This is a bad time to be pissing off the franchise.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.
Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.
So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.
Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.