Raptors’ line-up that would have likely stopped the Nuggets’ late comeback
If you take a look at these 2 sets of video highlights from Friday night’s Toronto loss against Denver, what you should be able to see is that:
1. The Raptors used a specific 5-Man Unit for the defensive possession when Chauncey Billups made his step-back 3PT shot, in the Left Corner, to tie the score, 95-95, with 33.9 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter:
Jack [6-3, 200] vs Billups [6-3, 202], PG
DeRozan [6-7, 220] vs Carter [6-2, 195], PG
Weems [6-6, 205] vs Smith [6-6, 220], OG
Wright [6-7, 215] vs Anthony [6-8, 230], PF
Bosh [6-10, 245] vs Nene [6-11, 250], C
2. The Raptors used the same 5-Man Unit when Carmelo Anthony missed his initial attempt at a game-winning jump shot … which came after Denver’s final time-out, trailing by 1 point … and was followed by the Nuggets’ offensive rebound, pass back to Anthony and his 2PT dagger that ultimately killed the home team:
Jack vs Carter [inbounds passer; 2nd screener for Smith]
DeRozan vs Smith [shooter cutting below the strong side staggered screens]
Weems vs Billups [receiver/passer positioned at the top of the key]
Wright vs Anthony [shooter isolated at the right elbow]
Bosh vs Nene [1st screener for Smith].
What specific line-up SHOULD the Raptors have used instead of this one?
Weems [6-6, 205] vs Billups [6-3, 202]
DeRozan [6-7, 220] vs Carter [6-2, 195]
Wright [6-7, 215] vs Smith [6-6, 220]
Johnson [6-9, 210] vs Anthony [6-8, 230]
Bosh [6-10, 245] vs Nene [6-11, 250]
If the Raptors had played these last 2 defensive possessions with this different 5-Man Unit, in all likelihood:
Billups would not have been able to get his step-back 3PT jump shot off vs an equally quick but taller defender like Sonny Weems [shot No. 1];
Carmelo Anthony would not have been able to get his stand-still 2PT jump shot off vs an equally quick but taller defender like Amir Johnson [i.e. shot No. 2]; and, if he was, then, Toronto would have been in much better position to retrieve the defensive rebound and prevent Anthony from getting off his 1 dribble going left 2PT jump shot … against a smaller defender like Jarrett Jack, or Antoine Wright [shot No. 3].
It really is astounding just how many times different NBA teams actually have the wrong individual match-ups on the floor during specific crunch-time possessions, and how often it can end up costing them a victory, in the process.