Woz blog – Why are the Raptors so excellent defensively?

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A big part of the success stems from having players like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby flying all over the place to make long shots tougher.

It isn’t just that though. Only Milwaukee defends the rim better than Toronto. Only Milwaukee and Portland surrender a lower field goal percentage from less than five feet from the basket.

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Woz Blog: Why are the Raptors so good defensively?

About defensively?

Orlando could not get anything going from deep on Thursday, shooting just 26.8% and managed only 11 points in transition.

Head coach Nick Nurse, the architect of this defensive, along with assistant Adrian Griffin and the rest of the staff, weighed in after the game about why Toronto is so good defensively.

Woz Blog: Why are the Raptors so good defensively?

“It’s always first of all getting it set up, that there aren’t any transition opportunities, so (opponents) have to play against five,” Nurse said.

Aand the next thing for me is how into the basketball are we? Are we pressuring, are there active hands, making just kind of one-on-one disruption and that kind of gets into the rhythm of some of the things they’re trying to do and it kind of goes from there.

Then it kind of becomes a really good helping situation from there.”

Nurse told me in Las Vegas right after taking over as head coach that quick, aggressive hands are a huge part of what he wants from his defenders. He’s gotten what he’s wanted there. Fred VanVleet leads the league in deflections, Kyle Lowry is always everywhere and Siakam and Anunoby get their hands dirty too, as does Gasol.

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