It's only crazy if it doesn't work. That's appeared to be the mantra of DeMar DeRozan's daughter every time the Toronto Raptors found themselves at the free throw line during their play-in game against the Chicago Bulls. Diar DeRozan's masterful gameplan to throw off Raptors players during their first game in the NBA play-in tournament at Scotiabank Arena was so simple it's amazing that we haven't seen it before.
But as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet found out, you're going to rack up a lot of missed free throws when DeMar's daughter Diar is screaming at the exact right moment.
Diar DeRozan's Buys Real Estate in Toronto's Heads
DeMar's daughter is screaming whenever the Raptors take free throws ? pic.twitter.com/HxmMz3BYgq
— ESPN (@espn) April 13, 2023
The Eastern Conference's NBA Playoffs picture proves how tough the division is. Even the Miami Heat, who lost their first game to the Atlanta Hawks, appeared poised to be in the top 5 of the playoff seeds earlier in the year. Now, they'll have to face off against the Bulls and their MVP, Diar DeRozan.
While the Bulls were aided by stellar play from DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso and Nikola Vucevic, it was the perfectly timed screams from Diar that seemed to throw off Toronto during the Raptors' free throw attempts. In an elimination game, with the winner advancing to the next round of the postseason, every bucket counts and Diar knew that. It didn't matter if it was the third quarter or the fourth quarter, the Raptors couldn't buy a bucket from the charity stripe in this first-round matchup.
The Diar Effect, Plus Historical Context
The Raptors shot 77.6% from the free throw line during the regular season, but Diar got in their heads and ruin the Toronto gameplan. It didn't matter how many assists or rebounds Toronto had, considering they missed 18 of their 36 three throws in the 109-105 loss to Chicago. Shooting 50% did not help Toronto's game and now they'll be at home watching other teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks on ESPN as they look to bring the Larry O'Brien Trophy to their city.
And if you're wondering just how bad 50% from the free-throw line is in a playoff game, well we did some digging. The worst free-throw shooting performance for a team in a single playoff game was the Philadelphia Warriors, who shot 26.1% from the charity stripe against the Boston Celtics in a 120-90 loss on March 19, 1960, according to StatMuse.
Even the worst free-throw shooting team in the NBA this year, the Memphis Grizzlies, shoot 73.3%. It's clear Diar is the real MVP. Good luck to the Heat.
MORE: DeMar DeRozan Changed the NBA's Perception of Mental Health With a Single Tweet
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