3. The Raptors’ bigs were rolling
The Toronto Raptors’ bigs were great in Monday night’s loss. Starting center Marc Gasol and his rotation replacement coming off the bench, Serge Ibaka, helped the team stay afloat for the majority of the game. Both played exceptionally well on both ends of the court.
In the first half of Game 5, Marc Gasol hit two shots from deep for the only made 3-pointers from Toronto in the half. He finished the first half with 15 of his 17 points while shooting 4-for-6 from the field. Despite being in foul trouble, again, his replacement played just as well. Ibaka finished the night with 15 points and six rebounds, shooting 5-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Two of Ibaka’s rebounds contributed to the team’s 13 offensive boards, which led to 16 second chance points. Ibaka has been really solid in the series, averaging 10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 18.2 minutes per game on 55.3 percent shooting. His perimeter touch has been mediocre at best, but due to the undersized frontcourt of the opposition, he’s utilizing his strength and length to collect several loose ball opportunities and providing rim protection on the other end.
Ibaka’s play in the fourth quarter of Game 5 was great. He was active on both ends, running the floor with purpose and providing timely interior defense for his team while the Raptors were trying to regain the lead. They will need this production again from both their bigs as they have a huge competitive advantage over the Warriors in the frontcourt.