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Oklahoma City Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is not afraid to take a risk, as he’s done for the past three seasons with the team that’s been among the league’s top scoring offenses over the past five years. 

The Raptors are set to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2008-09 season and they’re not the only one. 

Last season, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Raptors 117-107 in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals in a matchup that went into extra time and ended in a 113-114 win for the Warriors. 

This season, Casey has had a difficult time keeping his team on track with a losing record since he took over in 2013-14. 

Casey’s teams have lost all five of their games since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. 

After the Raptors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Casey said on a conference call that his team is not “in a good place.” 

“We’re not in a good position,” Casey said.

“We’re still trying to get our feet under us.” 

So what exactly has Casey done to get them to where they are? 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Casey’s teams are shooting at a 35.4% clip from the field this season, which is the second-highest mark in the NBA, trailing only the Miami Heat. 

That means that a team that averages 35.5% field goal shooting on offense has been shooting at 33.7% from the floor in the past seven games. 

In terms of offensive rebounding, Casey is allowing his teams to average 1.19 offensive rebounds per game and have the league-worst opponents field goal percentage at 34.3%. 

In other words, the Raptors are allowing teams to make 36.6% of their shots when they’re under the basket and they have the worst field goal percentages when they are under the hoop. 

If you’re wondering why there hasn’t been a significant jump in those numbers over the last few years, it has to do with the fact that the Raptors have gotten to a point where they’re a better defensive team than they were last season.

Casey has had to get creative to try and get his teams into the paint on defense. 

During the 2016–17 regular season, Toronto was third in the league in defensive rating, behind only the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Warriors.

However, that mark improved to third in 2017-18, which was the first year that the Toronto Raptors were ranked in the top-10 in defensive ratings. 

However, it’s been a pretty steady decline from the first half of last season to the second half of this year. 

Toronto has allowed an average of 102.5 points per 100 possessions in the second halves of games this season.

In the last four games, the only games in which Toronto has allowed more points than it allowed in the first four games of the season are against the Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

Over the last three games, Toronto has played more than 30 minutes less than its average, which has allowed the Raptors to shoot a better percentage from the line (35.7%) and be more efficient in the paint (25.5%). 

The team has also been able to keep its offensive rebounds at a relatively low level in recent games, with a league-low 29.5%. 

Caseymans record of allowing opponents to score at a rate of 108.4 points per game on the season is also down from the previous five seasons, when he allowed 108.8 points per contest on average. 

So, what is the solution? 

Caseys plan is to try to keep his team healthy and make adjustments to his team’s scheme as the season goes on. 

He’s been working with his staff to figure out ways to get his team to play faster and more aggressive in transition. 

As a result, the team has scored at a slower pace this season and that’s something that the coach will look to address this week. 

For more on the Raptors, check out our coverage here and follow our NBA coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. 

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