Toronto Raptors continue their rapid push for the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Since returning from the All-Star break, the Raptors have made an impressive play and have come back down to earth a bit.
You would know that if you see their impressive record this season which now has gone 10-4. Everything is looking good for Raptors, the team’s winning percentage (.714) is now tied up with the fourth-highest in the NBA league.
However, the Raptors have one big flaw: it’s the team’s defense, which currently in the top 10 of the All-Star break (per NBA.com/stats). Though the Raptors have a defense concerns, the opposite applies to Raptors’ offense.
The Raptors have been a strong offensive team throughout its season, the highest offensive rating in the league with 113.1 points per possessions.
So, where exactly the team’s offensive strength come from? One big answer is the Raptors’ big two, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The two-headed monsters have continued to keep their good performance in the court, they average play of 50.3 points per game accounts for nearly 47 percent of the team’s average of 107.3 points per game.
Another key reason is the Raptor’s high free throw rate (33.2 percent), which currently the third highest in the NBA, just behind leaders Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves. The team’s field goal percentage is also a huge contributing factor (47 percent), which now stands sixth in the NBA league. Then, there’s the three-point percentage (37 percent) which currently rank ninth in the league.
In addition to those huge numbers, the Raptors are also good when it comes to free-throw line shooting. Although this may not be as distinct from an advantage once the playoffs begin, but it makes a good sense when it comes to the sudden death match, where you need to do more.
Toronto currently has won four of their five games and 10 of 13 since February to push itself ahead of Boston Celtics in the hotly contested Atlantic Division, with 16 remaining games to play. They now trailed Lebron James and his East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, which also on the hunt for the Eastern Conference finals.
Of course, it still too early to talk about Raptors getting into the NBA Finals, they have still months left to play in this season before the team changes their focus in the game.
Picture Courtesy: Shaheen Karolia/Wikimedia Commons