Five thoughts on three rounds: The Raptors’ road to the NBA Finals

What stood out the most from this Raptors team as they broke through for their first-ever Finals appearance? We have thoughts! The NBA Finals start on Thursday, featuring, for the first time ever, the Toronto Raptors. We’ll have all kinds of awesome previews of the matchup with the Golden State Warriors, and the strategies and rotations both teams will likely deploy, right here on RaptorsHQ in the coming days.
First, though, let’s look back at the first three rounds of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, and see what stood out as the Raptors made their historic journey through the postseason.
All Eyes on D
I don’t think you can talk about this Raptors team, and this postseason run, without talking about the team’s defense. It’s extraordinary. The numbers certainly tell the story: 102.4 defensive rating (second best in the playoffs), opponent field goal percentage of 41.7% (second best), 8 steals per game/14.9 opponent turnovers per game (both fifth), 99.6 points per game allowed (second).
The thing is, those numbers don’t even do justice to what it’s like actually watching this team ratchet things up on D, particularly in the highest-leverage situations. The switching and rotating, the closing out on …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

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