Raptors' Christian Koloko delivers stable center minutes vs. Thunder
Asad Alvi breaks down how Christian Koloko was a steady presence for the Raptors with Jakob Poeltl off the floor vs. the Thunder.
ASAD ALVI: Hey, it's Asad. I'm here with another video breakdown for Yahoo Sports Canada. If you like this content, Remember to hit a likee and remember to subscribe to see more.
The Raptors getting an easy comfortable win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, something we haven't seen for a while. On that note and staying with the theme, I'm going to focus on someone we haven't seen in a while, Christian Koloko playing his first regular rotation minutes in over a month in the G League, getting some seasoning. And we're going to show him a little bit of love showcasing both of what he does on defense and what he does on offense and how he fit in in those backup five minutes in this game.
Now, Koloko checked in as the backup five at the beginning of the second quarter. It was a spot in the rotation, and we're going to see him make an impact right away on this play. You see the Thunder in semi transition. They get a nice little brush screen here, and Koloko kind of getting stuck with his feet, gets caught behind the play. He has a great bounce pass him to Saric, but Koloko, using his length, able to get there and get that block. Beautiful rim protection from a big.
This next play here, Will Barton gets beat. Not close enough to the body. And there's a straight line drive to the rim. Koloko does a great job coming over, getting in between the man and the rim, forces the pass over to Saric, and then is able to come over and contest vertical without fouling, which is very key. Raptors get the stop.
Next play down. Another one kind of semi transition. Going pretty quick. Quick screen here. Chris Bucha does a great job holding up the roller, and Christian Koloko then tags off and switches. Body walls off the pass, forces Giddey outside of the paint towards the baseline where there's more help. Keeps himself big. Does a great job.
Here we go, another. It's a blow by. The Raptors in a help situation here, and Koloko steps over at the elbow here and does a good job to contain the guard. Does not get in the way, forces the guard to shoot over towards the middle. Now he's in his one, two, and Koloko does not foul, stays vertical, keeps a clean contest.
So we just saw a entire stretch of basketball with the Raptors played in that second quarter where the offense wasn't really humming, the bench had just come in, having a little bit of trouble, but Koloko was able to stay sound defensively, make up for the small mistakes that some of the guards on those bench lineups are not the best at containing. We'll see some mistakes made by Will Barton. You'll see some mistakes made by Gary Trent. Chris Bucha might be out of position here and there.
But Koloko able to use his size, his positioning, and his length, which gives him a little bit more room to be in safer positioning not to foul, cut off those drives, and basically take away the rim. And you saw that in full force. Those are basically back-to-back plays to open the second quarter keeping the Raptors defensively sound even when the [INAUDIBLE] is off the court.
This last play on Shay Gilgeous-Alexander near the end of the third just completely, completely puts this all together. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander coming down, trying to get the two-for-one goes early. The Raptors sent the blitz. He goes early, right towards the help. Gary Trent Jr reaches in. [INAUDIBLE] trying not to foul. Shay gets into the middle anyways, and Christian Koloko has spawned out of nowhere right to get in between the basket and Shay Gilgeous-Alexander goes up straight vertical, takes the contact, and keeps his hands up after taking the contact, so not only takes the contact, keeps the contest going.
But we saw a showcase of what Koloko can do defensively in those minutes holding firm. Again, the Raptors with Jakob Poeltl out on the court today in 29 minutes at a defensive rating of 113. In the 12 minutes that Koloko was out there in place of Jakob, the Raptors had a defensive rating of 112. Staying on par but also, what in this circumstance against the OKC Thunder, the smaller team obviously the Raptors are able to get their offense pretty well.
Boak was also able to make sure not to tank any of the Raptors offensive lineups when he was out there. With Poeltl the Raptors had an offensive rating about 133 for the night, and then when Koloko was out there. They had an offensive rating 136. For this one night, Koloko was able to step in and basically match Poeltl. Pound for pound in keeping things normal. That is the entire mark of what you want from a second round draft pick in his first year, especially from a big man in his first year.
Though some great stuff from Koloko tonight, and we hope to see more of it going forward. I'm sure he's earned Nick's trust, and if you want more content like this, as always, subscribe, like, leave a comment on what you want to see next. This has been Asad for Yahoo Sports Canada. I hope you've enjoyed it. Have a great day.