The possibility of a Douchebag Sweep is still alive (shouts to The Starters)! Unlike the Gentleman’s Sweep (where the better team wins first three, loses Game 4, then closes things out in five), the Douchebag Sweep is when one team wins Game 1 — giving that fan base the false hope of a series upset — only to lose the next four games consecutively.
If Toronto does not close this out on Tuesday, you have every right to blame the That’s A Rap crew. Otherwise, you’ve been warned that the latest episode is filled with information that has one eye towards future rounds.
On The Latest Episode:
Unlike the previous two games, it was the Orlando Magic that jumped out to a hot start. They forced turnovers on the first two Raptor possessions and bolted to a 9-1 lead. The fact that Toronto still ended the quarter with a lead must have been discouraging for any Magic fan.
Jokes about the Raptors facing two opponents — Orlando and the referees — are funny to a certain extent, until you delve into the numbers. Toronto is dead last in free throw attempts. How bad is it? In Game 4, the Raptors shot a series-high 18 free throws. The Pistons, who rank one spot ahead of the Raptors in FTA, are averaging 18 attempts from the line.
The Pascal Siakam-Kawhi Leonard combo is deadly. Playoff teams will have to pick their poison when the offense runs through either of them.
Nick Nurse played his cards right. He called timeouts to stop any Magic momentum, drew up some creative after-timeout plays, and managed his lineups very well.
The Raptors bench finally outscored the Magic bench. Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet were instrumental in stemming any Magic runs, as well as helping to extend the lead. Powell and Ibaka earned their 4th quarter minutes.
What can the Magic do? Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon had their best games of the playoffs, yet the Magic lost Game 4. Nikola Vucevic finally broke out of his slump, plus Kawhi had an awful game, yet the Magic lost Game 3. Orlando is simply out-matched with no clear solution on how to steal a win — let alone three.
Closing out quarters and keeping the momentum on our side are small areas the Raptors can clean up. Unforced turnovers need to be kept under control. While the Raptors are not getting to the free throw line a lot (or at all), it only makes matters worse if our starters are saddled with foul calls. The starting five have dominated the Magic all series long and will need them all on the court when the competition gets harder.
2:15 - Numbers!
6:50 - 3 positives from the game (trimmed down from approximately 745)
9:45 - Not much to nitpick
14:25 - Room (albeit tiny) for improvement
17:40 - What’s needed to close out the series on Tuesday