Raptors dominate in obvious ways and subtlety, too

Raptors dominate in obvious ways and subtlety, too

Yeah, everyone saw that one coming, didn’t they?

Largest win in Raptors franchise playoff history, second-worst loss in Sixers franchise history, a 36-point pasting that made no sense at all.

But it must have been fun to soak in as a fan wherever you watched from, it was a decidedly stress-free game for those of us chronicling it and that’s never a bad thing.

Here’s a bit of a wrap-up of the night before we fully move into another day.

THREE POINTERS

A quiet impact

You think Kawhi Leonard’s having a ho-hum game and you look up at halftime and he’s already got a double-double and he finishes with 21 points and 13 rebounds and, yeah, maybe everyone is a little bit spoiled by him.

Let Serge Ibaka explain:

“Kawhi did a great job tonight of moving the ball, passing the ball. We knew tonight they were going to come out and try to double him. So he was just reading the way they was playing on defensive end and I think he made some great plays moving, passing the ball any time they got two on him. That’s how we had some great offence tonight.”

And there was this.

That was kind of incredible now that you think about it.

He could very well explode for 40 and 20 tomorrow and no one would be at all surprised but if you want to talk about a subtle dominance, last night was it.

Tough little fellow

Back, kind of, to Kawhi for a minute and the dunk at the end of the half that was kind of nasty.

But watch it closely.

Now do you have a bit more an appreciation for Kyle Lowry?

Yeah, that’s him, about 6-foot-nothing, basically hammering the 7-foot Joel Embiid on the screen that just gives Leonard enough room to squeeze through two defenders and bring everyone to their feet.

Even in real time, when the noise was thunderous and the players were almost on the court celebrating, you could tell Lowry had done something extraordinary to set up the play.

That screen’s an excellent, life example of what he does best: Simply make plays.

What’d we write?

Well …

I did this.

Bruce did this.

Dave did this.

I also did this early to fill some space and it’s probably wise to give it a read and realize Thursday is going to be different than Tuesday because that’s the way the series going and if you think you know, you don’t know.

And now we’ve got to figure out who’s gonna do what today.

A change in tactic

The only time the Sixers have really held Toronto’s offence in check was in Game 2 and that was mainly because the Raptors missed a couple of dozen “naked threes” as Nick Nurse called them the other day.

So Philly kept that up and double-teamed Leonard more aggressively than they ever have – especially on the baseline and in the corners and more quickly when he originally got the ball.

What happened?
The ball swung and swung, he might have only had four assists but he had a lot of hockey assists and the other four Raptors starters went a combined 12-for-24 from long distance.

That’s a breakout night.

Quickly, just this to wrap up because I still have to pack before I get the coveted Toronto-Detroit-Philadelphia milk run on Delta, which as I recall is a pretty good airline to fly.

We’re definitely shutting things down here Saturday morning so I don’t have to get up and type or go to a practice or whatever so if you want to get in on the mailbag, get in on the mailbag by clicking on askdoug@thestar.ca and asking away.

It’s always a fun thing to do.

And since is the first game-Sunday-fly-Monday-game Tuesday-fly-Wednesday-game-Thursday-fly-Friday week I’ve had in a very long time, I think a nothing more in well earned and a bit deserved, don’t you?

TORONTO STAR

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