Series Tied 2-2
This is it. Game 5. Pivotal moment in this series. Both the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets have battled to a standstill. With an opportunity to go up 3-2, it doesn't get more exciting than this! Let's go!
Raptors - Lowry, DeRozan, Ross, Johnson, JV
Nets - Williams, Livingston, Johnson, Pierce, KG
Game 5 X-Factors:
1. Ross: When asked after game 4 if he would consider taking Terrence Ross out of the starting lineup, Coach Casey said no, that Ross will have to play thru it... So Ross, it's all on you. His defense on D. Will was ok in game 4, but needs more polish. It's his offense I'm worried about. Only 4 made FGs in 4 games. That's gonna hurt the ego a bit. T. Ross better get that #3Ross going cause I'm expecting Brooklyn to bully DeRozan. Ross NEEDS to have a big game!
2. JV: The man whose name Charles Barkley can't pronounce. Jonas Valanciunas has been a non factor in Brooklyn, and you can credit Jason Kidd for making the appropriate adjustments needed to contain him. But he's back in the Dot! The home crowd loves them some JV! The Raptors must force feed the big man early and often in the blocks and NOT in late clock situations. The problem with JV is that he thinks too much. Give him the ball early and let him decide what to do with it. But he must be decisive with it.
3. Guard Play: You already know the deal. Whoever wins this matchup usually wins the game. Lowry and DeRozan vs D. Will and Johnson. 46 points from the Raptors in Game 4 vs 17 from the Nets. Who outplays who in Game 5?
4. Assists & Rebounds & Turnovers (Oh my!): Raptors in the first 3 games committed 59 Turnovers and only 10 in Game 4. The assist totals have been more or less even between the two teams. The Nets have been crushed on the boards all series (that's what you get for playing small ball), however they made of an effort in game 4. So can Toronto keep their turnovers low and can Brooklyn crash the glass more?
5. The Crowd: I'm sorry, but Brooklyn's fans have NOTHING on WE, THE NORTH! Toronto fans have been amped since day one, and the fans in Raptors Square alone were louder than the entire Barclays Centre. The ACC is gonna be rocking, and expect the Raptors to feed off them!
6. 2nd/3rd Quarter: The Nets have owned the Raptors in the middle quarters, especially in Game 4, where the Raptors went 1-16 FGs at one point. The Raptors can NOT allow that at home.
Things To Watch For:
1. Fair Whistle?: Up until 6:11 in the 4th quarter, the Raptors were getting the short end of calls. One play in the 3rd, Shawn Livingston got into JV's face and JV walked away. Refs initially called the tech on Livingston, then called it a double tech and gave one to JV. Will we see this game called straight down the middle, with the chance to go up 3-2 in the series hanging in the balance?
2. Fresh Legs: With 2 days off, both teams have a chance to rest for different reasons. Toronto with injuries, Brooklyn cause they old! Who will benefit more from this rest period?
3. Tipping Point?: The question on everyone's mind is will a fight break out between these two teams? I've been sensing some flying sparks lately, so we'll see if Toronto continues to play thru the physicality with poise and composure.
If Brooklyn has shown me one thing, it's that they know how to make adjustments, seemingly on the fly. If Toronto has shown me one thing, it that they're never out of a game. This one is gonna be tight. Home crowd will definitely be a factor. Rest will also be a factor. Advantage Raptors.
Raptors win by 5.