Toronto Raptors defensive-minded head coach Dwane Casey would probably prefer to bury this news, but his team now has the top offensive rating in the NBA at 114.2 points per 100 possessions, tied with the high scoring Golden State Warriors.
Led by the Eastern Conference’s top scorer DeMar DeRozan (640 points) and the conference’s most prolific three-point maker Kyle Lowry (71 3FGM), the eighth slowest paced team in the NBA has been averaging 115.5 points over their past 10 games to score at the blistering rate of 120.6 per 100 possessions, that’s 4.3 points more than the Cavaliers and almost 6 points better than the fast-paced Warriors over this time period.
The Raptors haven’t exactly been forgetting about defense over this span either, coach Casey’s regular rants to the contrary notwithstanding. Over the past 10 games in which Toronto has gone 8-2, the Raptors have allowed 100.8 points for a differential of +14.7 points. On the season, the Raptors are outscoring their opponents by an Eastern Conference best +8.3 points. The Warriors led the West at +12 points.
This offensive surge has moved the Raptors up the NBA rankings in several key areas:
They are now fourth in scoring at 111 points per game, just behind the Rockets and Cavs, but well back of the Warriors (118).
At 47.5 percent shooting, they are second only to the Warriors at 49.8 percent.
Three point shooting at 39.4 percent as a team trails only the Spurs (40) and the Cavs (40.1).
The Raptors are the second best free throw shooting team in the NBA at 81.7 percent, with the third most makes (481) on the 10th most attempts (589).
Toronto leads the NBA in drive points per game at 22.3 on the sixth most attempts (30.7).
Although the Raptors bench often seems to take the heat for inconsistency locally, they have the highest Net Rating in the NBA by a wide margin at +14.1. The second place Spurs bench is +10.3 and the next best in the East is the Cavs bench at +4.1.
Coach Casey can point to one offensive stat that should make a defensive coach happy, the Raptors are third best at creating screen assists (12.6), just behind Charlotte and Golden State.
At 16-7, the Raptors are in the midst of another very good season and while the offensive numbers are impressive, Casey would rather see his team improve on their 15th ranked defensive rating (104.4). But it isn’t going to be easy when your team has the NBA’s second best Net Rating of +9.8 points per 100 possessions and they just keep on winning.
Note: the Eastern Conference’s first place Cavs defensive rating is ranked 17th at 104.7.