This season Jose Calderon has been content finding his teammates for open looks instead of getting easy layups off of dribble-penetration, spotting up for three’s or hitting elbow jumpers.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks, however, Calderon started the game being aggressive looking for his shot and it resulted in the entire offense opening up for the Raptors. Calderon started the game shooting 3-3 from the field and had his hand in four of Toronto’s first five field goals by either scoring or dishing out an assist.
By being active looking for his shot it helped the team start the game a sizzling 9-10 from the field.
During that strong start, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and James Johnson combined to go 6-6 from the field on an assortment of jumpers, put-backs and layups.
Ironically, the only starter to miss a shot was Calderon.
It turns out the reason why Calderon was active looking for his shot is that part of the Raptors pre-game game plan involved using pick-and-pops because they felt that was one of the main weaknesses in Milwaukee’s defense.
“(Andrew) Bogut doesn’t leave the lane on the screen-and-roll, so we tried to put him in as many pick-and-rolls as we could and we knew guys coming off the screen were going ot get jump shots,” Jay Triano explained to HOOPSADDICT.com after the game. “(Jerrd) Bayless hit some, Jose (Calderon) hit some. We got the ball to DeMar (DeRozan), he used that screen and hit some 15-footers. That’s what you have to do to beat this team is make the 15-foot jumper shot and I thought for the most part we did. You can’t really complain when you are shooting 51 per cent for the game and making our mid-range shots.”
Shooting percentages isn’t one of the things Trinao could complain about tonight. After starting the game shooting 9-10 from the field at the half things hadn’t slowed down much as the team was shooting 58.8% from the field (24-34).
The starters, however, were shooting an even more impressive 68% (15-22).
While the pick-and-roll got Toronto’s offence rolling it also lead to other things opening up as the game progressed. There were small, subtle things like a play that unfolded early in the third quarter. Calderon had the ball at the top of the key and as he cut towards the baseline two defenders had to follow him to respect his hot hand. However, as his defender followed him and Bargnani’s defender sagged off to help, Calderon find his big man for a wide-open three.
“Tonight they were giving me my shot so that’s why I was taking it,” a humble Calderon told me after the game.
After a little prodding he admitted that part of the teams strategy was to use the pick-and-roll to open up some looks for the team.
“All the pick-and-roll stuff we were able to run really good,” Calderon told HOOPSADDICT.com. “I think at the start of the game we were (up) 26-13 and then we just stopped. Their defense started getting a little bit better and we didn’t execute as good as we would have liked in the second half.”
Part of that failure to execute in the second half can be attributed Calderon not looking for his shot as often. After attempting 11 field goals in the first half he failed to attempt a single field goal attempt the entire second half.
Granted, part of that is due to the fact he played 16 of is 26 minutes in the first half and he was nursing a sore left hamstring, but still, it’s clear for the Raptors offence to be running at peak levels he needs to at least look for his shot more.
Hopefully the team and Calderon learned something by what happened in the two halves and why they had such different results.