2017 NBA Playoffs Scouting Report: Raptors vs. Bucks

04/14/2017 at 06:04am

Analysis provided by Synergy Sports Technology

Series Update (4/27/2017): Raptors Win Series 4-2

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 6

Toronto Raptors: Series Update

Building a 25-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, Toronto avoided a late collapse with a few key baskets in the waning moments of Game 6 after Milwaukee closed the gap tying the game twice in the final four minutes. Scoring just 4 Transition points, easy baskets came few and far between for the Raptors, but a 32-point performance from DeMar DeRozan and an all-around effort on the offensive end was just enough to propel the Raptors into a second round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

DeRozan was terrific in Game 6 scoring 22 points at the rim in the half court on just 14 attempts shooting 79% in finishing situations. Getting to the basket possession after possession, DeRozan was brilliant off the dribble highlighted by a 6-for-6 shooting performance in one-on-one situations and a key dunk late in the game. The Raptors scored 38 points in finishing situations overall, a massive improvement on the 26 points per game they had scored in the first five games in this series and the 25.8 points per game they scored during the regular season. Averaging 1.152 points per finishing opportunity during the regular season to rank 20th in the NBA as the graph below illustrates, Toronto scored 1.226 points per finishing opportunity in Game 6.

Surviving a hard-fought series with the Bucks, the Raptors will need to be at their best offensively against a well-rested Cleveland team.

Milwaukee Bucks: Series Update

Roaring back after this game appeared to be all but over in the mid-second half, the Bucks showed a lot of fight not just in this game, but all series. Milwaukee won the possession battle in Game 6, but shot just 41% in finishing situations and 29% on jump shots in the half court.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again a bright spot for the Bucks scoring 34 points over 32 possessions. As good as he was during the regular season, this series could stand as a turning point for the young forward as he was as dominant at times in this series as he was at any point this season. Antetokounmpo got to the rim at a remarkable rate against the Raptors as the Raptors struggled to find an answer for him in the half court as the shot chart below shows.

Series Update (4/24/2017): Raptors Lead Series 3-2

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 5

Toronto Raptors: Series Update

Posting easily their best offensive performance of this series in Game 5, the Raptors built a commanding lead early and never looked back. Scoring a massive 50 points over 38 jump shots in the half court while shooting 78% in finishing situations, Toronto executed as well as they have all year as the 1.204 points per possession they scored ranks as their most efficient scoring night of the entire season. Toronto’s tremendous shooting from the inside and out is illustrated by the shot chart below.

Playing small for long stretches provided great spacing as 33% of Toronto’s offense came from Spot Ups over which they shot a sensational eFG% of 70%. Norman Powell, DeMarre Carroll, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka all hit set shots and attacked closeouts effectively exploiting a scrambling Milwaukee defense that was on its heels all night. Toronto’s resurgence from the perimeter since the early part of this series has been the difference. Scoring only 0.512 points per Spot Up possession and 0.500 points per Isolation possession in Games 1 and 2, the Raptors have scored 1.140 points per Spot Up possession and 1.190 points per Isolation possession over the last three games.

As much as Toronto’s success on the perimeter was key in Game 5, their defense was encouraging as well. Despite giving up size at multiple spots for much of the game with Norman Powell’s increased role, the Raptors allowed just 0.960 points per shot around the rim in the half court by challenging Milwaukee inside while maintaining a quickness advantage on the perimeter. Powell has been a difference maker on both ends, and his 25 points over 17 possessions in this game stands out as one of the best performances of the season by a Raptor not named Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan.

The Raptor’s exceptional and well-rounded offensive effort in Game 5 and their sudden success playing small are both positive develops for Toronto as they look to close out a hard fought series on the road in Game 6.

Milwaukee Bucks: Series Update

After a down game offensively in Game 4, Milwaukee recovered with a better performance in Game 5 as Malcolm Brogdon came alive, but the Bucks were never really in position to make a move on the Raptors who scored in bunches from the inside and out all night long.

Greg Monroe continues to be a bright spot for the Bucks averaging 1.090 points per possession through five postseason games, up from a still solid 0.972 points per possession during the regular season. Monroe was tremendous inside for stretches in Game 5 though he finished with just 11 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo got off to a slow start scoring only 3 points over 8 possessions in the first quarter before scoring 27 points over 17 possessions the rest of the night. Perhaps the most encouraging thing Milwaukee can take away from this game was the performance of Malcolm Brogdon, who had easily his best offensive showing of the series scoring 19 points over 13 possessions.

The concern for the Bucks moving forward is their inability to defend the 3-point line in the half court after their Game 5 struggles. Allowing only 31% shooting from deep in half court sets in the first three games of this series, Milwaukee’s defense surrendered 48% shooting from beyond the arc in the half court as Toronto’s spacing tested Milwaukee’s discipline on defensive rotations.

Series Update (4/22/2017): Series Tied 2-2

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 4

Toronto Raptors: Series Update

Despite losing the possession battle and shooting just 23% from beyond the arc, the Raptors made just enough shots in the second half to score a key victory over the Bucks to retake home court advantage heading into Game 5. Dwayne Casey’s decision to start Norman Powell in place of Jonas Valanciunas paid dividends as both played well combining for 24 points. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan also seemed to settle in on the offensive end combining to score 1.080 points per possession over 48 possessions. Those numbers are almost identical to their regular season production, an encouraging sign given their struggles in this series and the toll it has taken on the Raptors offense.

Toronto won this game despite scoring a dismal 0.550 points per Spot Up possession. They haven’t shot the ball particularly well from the perimeter in the half court this series and had very little from their shooters in Game 4. To their credit, they scored opportunistically in transition in a slow paced game putting up 18 points over 18 Transition possessions. Toronto also poured in 19 points over 15 Isolation possessions as DeRozan was able to carry the load offensively for stretches. As the graph below shows, the Raptors were one of the most efficient, prolific one-on-one scoring teams in the NBA this season, but Saturday’s outburst was a deciding factor in the outcome given how both of these teams have struggled to score the ball in the half court.

Toronto’s defense held Milwaukee to just 0.530 points per Transition possession, where the Bucks have excelled in this series. The Raptors defense also came up big in holding the Bucks to only 0.720 points per possession in the half court. The Bucks were due for a regression to the mean from the perimeter with the way they had shot the ball from beyond the arc in this series, but Toronto will need to hold the line on the defensive end in Game 5 and prevent Milwaukee from regaining the offensive momentum that propelled the Bucks to their early wins.

Milwaukee Bucks: Series Update

After three straight stellar performances on the offensive end relative to the way they played in the regular season, Milwaukee struggled mightily to get anything going in Game 4 with Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo combining to score only 24 points over 46 possessions. Greg Monroe and Tony Snell made some positive plays, but the Bucks didn’t get enough from their leading scorers in key moments when the Raptors offense stagnated and in crunch time.

After finding some success in Pick & Roll situations and making 48% of their Spot Up 3-point attempts in the half court, Milwaukee scored only 6 points over 18 possessions used by their ball handlers in ball screen actions and went 2-for-11 on their Spot Up opportunities from beyond the arc. Shooting only 42% on finishing opportunities around the rim in the half court and scoring only 9 Transition points, it will be key for this young Bucks team to have a short memory after little went right for them offensively in Game 4.

For all of their struggles offensively, Milwaukee still allowed only 0.870 points per possession on the defensive end as they continued to befuddle the Raptors offense.

Series Update (4/20/2017): Bucks Lead Series 2-1

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 3

Milwaukee Bucks: Series Update

In the most lopsided game of this series by a considerable margin, Milwaukee took a 32-12 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back, dominating the game on the defensive end as the Raptors couldn’t find any kind of rhythm offensively. Holding Toronto to just 0.679 points per possession in the half court, the Milwaukee’s defense allowed only 9 points over 18 catch and shoot jump shots and a remarkable 35% in finishing situations against Toronto’s set offense. Milwaukee’s length and quickness suffocated Toronto’s offense all game long.

Getting 20 points over 16 possessions from Khris Middleton and 16 points over 14 possessions from the re-energized Greg Monroe, the Bucks got a strong all around effort offensively due in large part to the 41 points they scored over 31 Spot Up possessions. Posting an eFG% of 120.8% over 12 unguarded catch and shoot jump shots in the half court, Milwaukee was scorching hot from the perimeter for stretches of Game 3. One of the better set shooting teams in the NBA this season as the graph below depicts, nearly everything went right for the Bucks at home as they seized control of this series in impressive fashion.

Toronto Raptors: Series Update

For the second time in this series Toronto was held to an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance. Scoring only 0.770 points per possession, their second lowest mark of any game this season, the Raptors got only 21 points over 30 possessions from DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry in Game 3. Toronto’s All-Star caliber guard duo combined for 49.7 points over 47.8 possessions per game during the regular season. Through three games in this series, they have scored only 32.3 points over 37.4 possessions per game.

Toronto’s struggles offensively to this point are far-reaching and very concerning. Relying heavily on offense created out of Pick & Rolls this season, Toronto is scoring only 0.810 points per possession used or created by a pass out of ball screen actions this postseason, down from 0.990 points per possession during the regular season. The Raptors’ Pick & Roll attack starts with DeRozan and Lowry, and unless they can get back on track, this figures to be a long series for Toronto on the offensive end considering how much the Raptors leaned on that duo in a major way all season.

Series Update (4/18/2017): Series Tied 1-1

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 2

Toronto Raptors

Bouncing back from a disappointing 14-point Game 1 loss, Toronto got a strong effort from Kyle Lowry and their shooters in route to a hard-fought victory in Game 2. After scoring only 4 points over 12 possessions in Game 1, Lowry still looked a bit tentative around the basket. He finished with 22 points over 20 possessions doing a nice job pushing the ball to draw fouls and making plays out of the Pick & Roll. Lowry generated 12 points with his passes out of ball screen actions.

The success Lowry found setting the table for others came on the heels of tremendous shooting by the Raptors who scored 37 points over 24 Spot Up possessions in Game 2 after scoring only 15 points over 25 possessions in Game 1. Serge Ibaka went 3-for-3 in Spot Up situations in the half court and the Raptors shot 10-for-15 from beyond the arc in Spot Up situations overall. Rankings right around average this season in terms of Spot Up usage and efficiency as the graph below shows, the Raptors have had two games on the opposite end of the spectrum scoring 1.54 points per Spot Up possessions to even the series after averaging only 0.60 points per Spot Up possession to dig themselves a hole in Game 1.

Building double-digit leads in the late third and early fourth quarter, Toronto continues to have trouble getting separation from the Bucks who have continued to give them problems defensively.

Milwaukee Bucks

Leading the playoffs with 11 dunks but scoring just 0.860 points per half court possession, Milwaukee continues to be a mixed bag offensively. They have been tremendous on the break scoring 1.417 points per Transition possession through two games and have generated some easy looks in the half court. Milwaukee has struggled for stretches in the half court as they are scoring a dismal 0.681 points per Spot Up possession and haven’t gotten much from their guards in the Pick & Roll. By the same token, Milwaukee has received significant contributions from Giannis Antetokounmpo in both games, but he and Maclolm Brogdan were far more efficient scoring the ball in Game 1 than Game 2 while the opposite is true of Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe.

For all of Milwaukee’s inconsistency through two games, they have proven incredibly pesky to keep things close throughout and match many of Toronto’s runs with runs of their own, giving them plenty of hope as this series heads back to Milwaukee.

Series Update (4/16/2017): Bucks Lead Series 1-0

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors: Game 1

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo turned in a transcendent performance in Game 1 for Milwaukee scoring 28 points over 20 possession against the Raptors including 10 Transition points and 4 dunks. Toronto didn’t have a consistent answer for Antetokounmpo or the Bucks on the break and gave up a massive 23 points over only 15 Transition possessions. Scoring a far less impressive 0.889 points per possession in the half court, Toronto gave Milwaukee the easy opportunities it needed in the open floor to buoy its offensive efficiency. The Bucks have been efficient in transition all season as the graph below depicts and averaged 15.6 Transition possessions per game, but scored only 18.1 points per game on those opportunities. This was quite an offensive explosion for Milwaukee in the open floor. The Bucks also scored 22 points over 17 one-on-one possessions, coming up with some timely shot making to help their cause in the 2nd half.

Toronto Raptors

Coming up short at home in front of a raucous crowd in Game 1, the Raptors scored just 0.820 points per possession in the half court and 0.818 points per Transition possession struggling to get anything going offensively outside of ball screen actions. With DeMar DeRozan scoring 18 points over 15 Pick & Roll possessions, but Cory Joseph and Kyle Lowry not scoring at all on 9 Pick & Roll possessions, even the two-man game was a mixed bag for the often potent Raptors backcourt.

Much of Toronto’s struggles were due to their uncharacteristically poor perimeter shooting, specifically in spot up situations. Scoring only 15 points over 25 Spot Up possessions, the Raptors looked out of rhythm. Though they ranked just 14th scoring 0.998 points per Spot Up possession during the regular season, the 23 points from jump shots they scored in the half court against Milwaukee is a far cry from the 39.4 points per game they averaged during the regular season.

Looking ahead, the biggest priority for the Raptors will be getting Kyle Lowry back on track. Among the most efficient volume scorers in the NBA as the graphic below illustrates, Toronto’s star guard went for only 4 points over 12 possessions, one of his worst games of the season. Missing most of March with a broken wrist, this was only Lowry’s 5th game back. The Raptors will need him to round into form if they are going to take back control of this series.

Series Preview (4/14/2017)

Toronto Offense vs. Milwaukee Defense

[NBA Rank] out of 30 NBA teams

Toronto Raptors: PlayType Analysis

Few teams boast the balance that the Raptors have offensively. Among the top Pick & Roll attacks in the NBA with two high level ball handlers in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and some complementary options to go along with Jonas Valanciunas, DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka as threats on the block, the Raptors can score from the inside and out with impressive efficiency.

Toronto’s ball handlers in two-man actions are scoring 24.5 Pick & Roll points per game [1st]. Averaging 0.948 points per Pick & Roll possession used by the Ball Handler [2nd], the Raptors are on the upper edge of the league in both usage and efficiency in the Pick & Roll as the graph below illustrates.

Toronto also scores 0.976 points per Post Up possession [1st] and ranks as one of the few teams scoring at a rate from the block that is above the overall NBA average in scoring efficiency.

The Raptors strengths line up with the Bucks strengths defensively as Milwaukee’s defense allows just 0.804 points per Pick & Roll possession used by the Ball Handler [3rd] and 0.827 points per Post Up possession [2nd]. John Henson and Greg Monroe have both held up exceptionally well one-on-one inside.

In their four meetings this season, Milwaukee allowed just 0.48 points per Post Up possession to the Raptors, but allowed a massive 1.07 points per Pick & Roll possession used by the Ball Handler as they struggled to slow down Toronto off the bounce.

Toronto Raptors: Offensive Shot Chart

The Raptors score at a solid rate from inside of 15 feet and excel at converting from the middle of the floor. They have had some of their best shooting games from the wings against the Bucks this season.

Regular Season

vs. Milwaukee

Milwaukee Bucks: Defensive Shot Chart

The Bucks are an above average defensive team that defends the post well, but otherwise do a below average job protecting the rim. They defend the ball well above the break.

Regular Season

vs. Toronto

Toronto Raptors: Spotlight Players

Among the NBA’s most unique scorers, DeRozan cracked the 1.0 points per possession mark this season despite attempting barely any 3-pointers. Ranking in the 80th percentile or above in Pick & Roll, Isolation, and Post Up efficiency, DeRozan is a remarkably effective short range jump shooter that scores 0.855 points per pull-up jump shot [56th percentile].

Kyle Lowry, like DeRozan, ranks high in Pick & Roll and Isolation efficiency, but also doubles as one of Toronto’s top Spot Up shooters. Scoring 1.159 points per pull-up jump shot in the half court [97th percentile] and 1.268 points per catch and shoot jump shot [92nd percentile], Lowry is a versatile jump shooter with deep range who has been exceptionally relaible this season.

Milwaukee Offense vs. Toronto Defense

[NBA Rank] out of 30 NBA teams

Milwaukee Bucks: PlayType Analysis

Milwaukee is one of the least polarized offensive teams in the NBA. They rank in the Top 10 in the NBA in scoring efficiency in Transition, Cut, Post Up, Roll Man, Put Back, and Hand Off situations. However, they struggle to create quality offense off the dribble limiting their offensive potential many nights.

Milwaukee is scoring 1.093 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [6th], but just 0.787 points per pull-up jump shot [27th]. The Bucks are scoring only 0.767 points per Pick & Roll possession [29th] as they don’t have a single player ranking above the 60th percentile in scoring efficiency in their regular rotation. The same is true about Milwaukee’s numbers in isolation situations save Michael Beasley. The Bucks are scoring just 0.735 points per Isolation possession [30th]. The graph below depicts where Milwaukee stands league-wide in combined Pick & Roll and Isolation efficiency.

Milwaukee has scored just 12.2 points per game from Pick & Rolls and Isolations over four games against the Bucks, faring far better inside.

The Raptors have one significant strength defensively allowing just 0.927 points per Spot Up possession [2nd]. Toronto’s defense allows 0.863 points per Pick & Roll possession [21st], but limited the Bucks effectively when these teams have matched up this season. The Raptors can put a lot of pressure on Milwaukee’s ball handlers if they can chase their shooters off the line.

Milwaukee Bucks: Offensive Shot Chart

The Bucks score fairly well around the rim and make shots at a nice rate from the baselines, but have struggled from the inside and outside alike against Toronto this season.

Regular Season

vs. Toronto

Toronto Raptors: Defensive Shot Chart

The Raptors have struggled to protect the rim this season, but have done a decent job defending the arc. They have held up better inside against the Bucks.

Regular Season

vs. Milwaukee

Milwaukee Bucks: Spotlight Player

Antetokounmpo is doing a bit of everything for the Bucks, but has been far and away most effective on Cuts, Rolls to the Rim, and Transition opportunities. Scoring a remarkable 1.341 points per shot around the rim in the half court [89th percentile], but only 0.746 points per jump shot [17th percentile]. He has taken a massive step forward as an offensive weapon and is still growing into the type of dominant force that can carry the load at the highest level every night. Scoring only 0.773 points per Isolation possession [40th percentile] and 0.811 points per Pick & Roll possession [54th percentile], Antetokounmpo’s ability to create against a set defense or keep the defense honest from the perimeter is the only thing standing between him and a spot on an All-NBA team.