Nets Lead 1-0
So game 2 is upon us! The jitters are out, the shot clocks are fixed, and Masai was fined. Now we can focus on the game at hand:
Raptors - Lowry, DeRozan, Ross, Johnson, JV
Nets - Williams, Livingston, Johnson, Pierce, KG
1. The crowd: I'm not gonna lie, that was the most raucous ACC crowd I've seen even on Saturday, and I've seen Raptors playoff games, Leafs playoff games and WWE events. That crowd was NUTS! And as if they needed any more firing up, GM Masai Ujiri said eff Brooklyn to get them even more hyper. The Toronto Faithful better come out 2x harder tonight, and the Raptors better feed off it.
2. Bench Play: Vasquez outscored the Nets bench single handedly, 18-16. Raptors bench mob need to come out hard again and do it again.
3. Williams: Anytime D. Will scores 20+ points, good things happen for Brooklyn. Again, he needs to outplay Lowry if Nets want have a shot at beating the Raptors.
4. Landry Fields Sighting?: The Raptors had no answer for Paul Pierce defensively in game one, which begs the question: will Landry Fields play? He's the only other player on the Raptors who can actually keep up with him, and given that Amir and Salmons couldn't slow him down, we just might see the Drake look-alike in action tonight.
5. DeRozan's Bounce Back Game?: Game one went as one might have expected for DeMar: horrible. He's now had his taste of playoff basketball, don't expect him to be rattled tonight.
Things to watch for:
1. JV vs KG: I never thought I was gonna get the chance to say this, but JV OUTPLAYED KG, and it wasn't even close. Sooner or later, JV is gonna get those calls from the refs. And when he does... Just get out of his way.
2. Refs: speaking of the refs, the Raptors have 2 choices to make: 1. Continue to accept that NBA refs will not give them a fair whistle, or 2. Someone on the team takes a fine for finally calling out what everyone already knows. This isn't complaining about the officiating, it's pointing out the painfully obvious truth: there is absolutely no way that the Brooklyn Nets committed ZERO (0) defensive fouls in the 4th quarter. And with all the admissions of error that happened over the weekend as far bad calls are concerned, the league office NEEDS TO and MUST correct this. The Toronto Raptors are not the Atlantic Division champs by accident, they earned it. Give them a level playing field and see what happens.
3. Run & Gun: The Raptors don't always run and gun, but when they do, they hinder Brooklyn. We may see a little more fast break action from Toronto.
As far as I'm concerned, Brooklyn tipped their hand on Saturday. The Raptors know what's coming. They know that these old farts are gonna play dirty. They know that the refs probably won't give them a fair shake. They also know that 25000+ fans will be going ape nuts for them. They know that despite what people might think, they're a good team. And above all else, they know that they can beat Brooklyn!
Raptors win by 5