The Raptors were on top of their game in Game 1 versus Golden State. They were playing excellent defense, hitting shots and feeding off the energy of the crowd. In the second game, however, they could not hit shots, they were devoid of energy in the second half, the defense became less aggressive and the offense became stagnant. Even with those two uneven performances, the Raptors are not out of this series at all. They are, however, searching for some answers. The Warriors have momentum going back to Oakland for Game 3 and if the Raptors aren't careful, they could find themselves in a world of hurt. This is a dangerous time for them and they need a good game on the road in Game 3, so here are a few adjustments that need to be made.
One big adjustment is tied into the performance of Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. Both were brilliant in Game 1, with Siakam only missing three shots on his way to 32 points and Gasol had twenty points as he was efficient from the field. In Game 2 though, both were not quite as good as they were in Game 1. They combined for 18 points in Game 2 and were noticeably different than they were in Game 1. These two players are important pieces to the Raptors, but both were not nearly as aggressive as they were in Game 1. Toronto needs both of them to be aggressive at all times. Gasol cannot pass up open jump shots over and over again. He cannot be passive out there while DeMarcus Cousins is aggressive towards him. If he allows that to happen again, then the Raptors will have an even tougher task. And as far as Siakam, he is at his best when he isn't hesitating and he is playing downhill. When he did that in Game 1 and was getting out in transition, the Warriors were on their heels against him and could not stop him. When he hesitated in Game 2, he wasn't as effective and it hurt the Raptors offense. Both Gasol and Siakam have to be better and more aggressive in Game 3 to give the Raptors the best chance to win.
Along with Gasol and Siakam being more aggressive offensively, there are defensive issues the Raptors have to work out as well. One thing that has to happen is their attention to detail and mainly the backdoor cuts and when Steph Curry was setting screens. The first half of Game 2 the Warriors were not hurting the Raptors as bad with the backdoor cuts. At that point, the game was close and the Raptors just needed to continue to do the things they were doing on that end of the court. Well, it seems like in the second half, they just forgot the had to see their man as well as the ball. DeMarcus Cousins was picking them apart in the post passing the basketball and the Warriors just seemed to catch Toronto slipping a lot when they weren't paying attention. Essentially, that adjustment is one that can be made in between games. As far as Curry setting screens, that is a tactical one that has to be discussed. When he was setting screens, it seemed like there was no communication between the Toronto defenders and people were getting either layups or wide-open shots. The Raptors have to make a decision. They either switch to keep coverage on one of the most dangerous shooters in the NBA or they stick with who they have and fight through the screens. Either way, a decision has to be made and it has to be made before Game 3.
The Raptors are tied in this series and there are some that thought they would not be at this point and others that think they should be up two games. Whether folks are happy with where they stand or not, the Raptors definitely have a tall task ahead of them as they head to Oakland to take on Golden State. Hopefully for them, they can make the adjustments they need to make in order to give themselves the best chance to win.