Just a hideous display of basketball in Indiana on Tuesday, but somebody had to win, and it was the Toronto Raptors.
After suffering a tough loss in triple-overtime just the night before, the Raptors will take the win any way they could get it. But the team set a record for futility in the process.
It was a good thing that Toronto somehow carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, because they only managed to score five points in the final period. It was the lowest fourth-quarter point total by a winning team in the shot clock era, or since the 1955-56 season (via ESPN Stats & Info).
That’s 56 years.
Kurt Helin broke doen some of the numbers in our recap post — In the second half, Toronto shot just 6-of-33 from the field and committed seven turnovers. The fourth quarter was particularly brutal, one where the Raptors went 1-of-15 from the field, while committing five turnovers and getting outrebounded by seven.
And yet, they still won.
The Pacers are a disaster since Danny Granger went down with injury, and with Roy Hibbert playing like Jamaal Magloire reincarnated — you know, one questionable All-Star selection, followed by many seasons of playing nowhere near that level — Indiana is going to be doing a lot of losing.
But dropping this one to the Raptors, after they had Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon each playing over 48 minutes the night before, and DeMar DeRozan playing a whopping 60 — well, that’s got to be way more embarrassing than the record-setting fourth quarter from Toronto, despite its place in the history books.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
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.