The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow. His struggles at points of last year’s playoffs seem a long, long time ago now. Read MoreRAPTORS BLOG: The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow — Toronto Sun
The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow. His struggles at points of last year’s playoffs seem a long, long time ago now.
– VanVleet is now shooting 42.6% on three-pointers in the playoffs since the start of last year’s run. Incredibly, that includes his low point, 1-for-14 struggles from beyond the arc in the seven game series against Philadelphia.
RAPTORS BLOG: The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow
– How scorching is VanVleet right now? Only Stephen Curry and Paul George had hit more threes over the first two games of a playoff series over the last 10 years and VanVleet nailed six more in Game 3.
– Minnesota and the Los Angeles Clippers are now the only NBA franchises to never go up 3-0. Toronto also improved to 10-10 all-time in the third game of a playoff series.
– Serge Ibaka had his second 13-rebound game off the bench for the Raptors in the playoffs. Only Bismack Biyombo (16) has grabbed more without starting. Ibaka also had his third 20-point or more game off the bench with the Raptors, more than any other player (VanVleet has done it twice).
Ibaka had his fourth playoff double-double as a Raptor, tying Charles Oakley and moving one behind Chris Bosh. Jonas Valanciunas had 17 for the franchise lead.
– You have to feel for interim Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn who has done what he can with such an undermanned lineup. Brooklyn lost Joe Harris, adding to the long list of unavailable talent, and looked completely overmatched by the deep Raptors in the third game of the series.
– Brooklyn didn’t even manage to score on two straight possessions until nearly midway through the second quarter. And just when the Nets seemed to have some life — like their late in the half three-pointer — VanVleet had to completely take the wind out of their sales by banking in a ridiculous heave to end the half.
“Overall, when you don’t have all the components of your card, it puts stress on different parts,” Vaughn said.
“It put extra stress on individuals to make plays that they might not have had to make if Joe (Harris) was here.”
– Credit too to Nets big man Jarrett Allen who worked his butt off all game despite not getting to see much of the ball on offence. Allen only took two shots all game (leading to four free throw attempts), but still chased down 17 rebounds. Only Giannis Antetkounmpo, Dwight Howard (three times), Ben Wallace, Marcus Camby and Draymond Green have had more rebounds against the Raptors in the post-season. Each of those guys attempted at least 10 shots in their big rebounding games.
“They pack the paint. They force you to kick it out to guys,” Nets guard Tyler Johnson said of Toronto’s elite protect the paint defence. “They’re usually bringing three or four guys into the paint. We got into a timeout in the third quarter and I looked at J.A. (Jarrett Allen)and told him how unselfish he was being throughout the entire game because a guy of his caliber could easily be frustrated and angry and be more demonstrative about not getting field goal attempts, but the guy continued to screen, continued to get guys open, continued to get offensive boards. You know, you can find yourself just going up and taking shots off of those, (but) he continued to kick it out, continued to make the right basketball play,” Johnson said.
Allen is a very good young player and it’s going to be a shame when politics put him on the bench so that Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving pal DeAndre Jordan, who is no longer close to the player Allen is, gets to be the guy in the middle.
Lowry could have been given a star for his strong outing, just as Ibaka could have gotten one last game. We’re evening things up by going Ibaka for this one.
1 — Fred VanVleet
2 — Pascal Siakam
3 — Serge Ibaka