More Patterson in Game 2?

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: Nets-Raptors Game 2 preview

TORONTO – The Toronto Raptors scored just 87 points on 92 possessions in Game 1 of their first round series against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. They need to find a way to keep Joe Johnson out of the paint in Game 2 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), but most of all, they need to get more buckets themselves.

That could mean more minutes for Patrick Patterson, a floor-spacing big.

Jonas Valanciunas put up 17 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in his playoff debut on Saturday, but was a game-low minus-17 (Nets 73, Raptors 56) in 35 minutes. He played well, but his teammates didn’t while he was on the floor.

One thing that can get All-Star DeMar DeRozan better shots is better spacing. And with Valanciunas and Amir Johnson in the game, the Raptors’ spacing is not optimal. DeRozan shot 0-for-8 (0-for-4 from 3-point range) when the two starting bigs were on the floor on Saturday.

That’s just one game, but since they acquired him in the Rudy Gay trade, the Raptors have been at their best offensively with Patterson on the floor. It’s not just that he can hit 3-pointers, but his presence makes it a little bit harder for the opposing defense to put multiple bodies between the Raptors’ ball-handlers and the basket.

In the three games they’ve had him against Brooklyn, Toronto has scored almost 120 points per 100 possessions in Patterson’s 75 minutes. DeRozan has scored 28 points in the 39 minutes he’s shared the floor with Patterson against the Nets, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and getting to the line 12 times.

Patterson’s┬ámark of plus-50 against the Nets is, by far, the best mark of any Raptor this season (next is Chuck Hayes at plus-21). If you count a November game with Sacramento, he’s a plus-80 in 101 minutes against them.

Still, we might we see more of Patterson (who played 26 minutes on Saturday) in Game 2. It’s only been a few weeks since he returned from an elbow injury, but Raptors coach Dwane Casey says that there’s no limit on Patterson’s minutes. Casey just has to space them out differently.

“You got to give him a little more of a blow between his extended minutes,” Casey said. Patterson entered the game late in the first and third quarters on Saturday, and stayed in until late in the second and fourth.

Casey went five-deep with his bigs in Game 1, bringing Patterson, Hayes and Tyler Hansbrough off the bench. The combination of Johnson and Patterson could be the Raptors’ best option – Toronto was a plus-13.6 points per 100 possessions in 215 minutes with the two on the floor together in the regular season – but the pair didn’t play at all together on Saturday.

9 Comments

  1. okc2014 says:

    I’m glad the Raptors won. Yeah!

  2. 416fantilldeath says:

    I believe the raps can take this if they just guard Johnson and his post ups and deron. To the eastern conference finals we goooo!!

  3. Raptor4Life says:

    The season for the Raptors hangs on tonight’s pivotal game…. this is a “must win”. Game 1 “play-off rookie” jitters better be over or an early first-round exit looms. If they lose tonight, I don’t see the mental toughness there that will beat the Celt-Nets 4 games out of the remaining 5. Paul Pierce has proved he is confident and ready, which Raptor(s) will step up tonight when it is time to decide the game’s outcome ??? The Raptors can win this series, it’s all in their heads….

  4. celentano says:

    Against the Grizzly’s or Okc,SA is still a big hurdle to do,not so fast with that aaa@.

  5. dunjav2013 says:

    Reblogged this on dunjav.

  6. aaa says:

    sorry raps but you should get your rods ready for early fishing. just step aside because uncle KG and the truth will take miami and lebron.

    • Ed says:

      I don’t know. The Raps shot pretty bad the whole game, didn’t play great defense (the Nets had soooo many wide open looks) and it was still a close game. I think the Nets will win the series, but I really think it’s going 6 or 7 games.

    • bbb says:

      Then get owned by Miami and Lebron..what waste of $110M payroll.