Offence contagious for Raptors, NBA
ORLANDO 102, TORONTO 94
Every night there are NBA numbers that astound — a 65point half by some team, 230 total points in a game, 130 points or more by both teams, points by the bushel.
It can be wildly entertaining, if at times wildly frustrating to coaches who know the consistency of defence is the key to sustained success, and it seems to be the way the game is headed right now.
Offences are better, more sophisticated in breaking down defences. The players are better and quicker and more versatile. Big men take and make three-pointers. It’s basically impossible for one player to guard another without some help somewhere.
The game is evolving to the point that good offence often beats good defence, so everyone has that in mind.
It’s fun to score, it’s hard to defend. Why would people be surprised that most players decide for enjoyment rather than work?
“We keep cracking the whip as coaches but watching the games, it’s not just us,” Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey said before the Raptors dropped a 102-94 decision to the Orlando Magic. “It’s leaguewide. There’s such an emphasis on the offensive side of the game — shooting the three, getting to the rim — that I think it’s contagious around the league. It’s an offensive league, I think that’s the beauty of the NBA right now, it’s more of an offensive, entertaining league.”
The Raptors are having the greatest all-around offensive season in franchise history.
They went into Friday’s game averaging 85.6 field goal attempts per game, their most ever. They were shooting 50.4 per cent from inside the arc; only once have they shot better than 50 per cent from that range in a season. Their 37.1 per cent efficiency from three-point range has been beaten only two other times in franchise history.
The Raptors average 109.5 points per game, five more points per game than the most potent offence in franchise history.
“It’s almost like a lot of teams in this league, including us, have fallen in love thinking ‘OK, it’s an offensive slugfest,’” Casey said.
Even having cooled considerably from early last month, they remain at an all-time high and remain among the best in the NBA.
Raptors Jonas Valanciunas and Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo battle in Orlando, Fla., Friday. Orlando won 102-94.