The Toronto Raptors finished their 2013-14 NBA season off with a loss last night, but it hardly mattered in the end. A loss by the Chicago Bulls to the Charlotte Bobcats cemented Toronto's spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the third seed as it turns out, and now they prep for a first-round playoff matchup versus a familiar foe.
Well, not familiar in terms of the players that comprise the club, but familiar in that once again, the Toronto Raptors basketball club will be coming in as a third seed, and facing a sixth-seeded Nets team.
If we hearken back to the 2006-07 playoffs, Chris Bosh led a 47 win Raptors team into the post-season, also as a third seed, where they faced a sixth-seeded Nets club (then of New Jersey.) Raptors' fans nemesis Vince Carter was a core piece of the club and the Nets ended up upsetting the Dinos in six games.
Obviously there aren't a ton of other parallels to draw considering that series was nearly a decade ago now (think about that for a second) but there are a few similar undertones regarding a more experienced Nets' club facing a more youthful Raptors squad.
Oh, and Jason Kidd.
Kidd of course was the engine that drove the 2006-07 Nets club (he averaged a triple-double in the series) and he's now the coach of the Brooklyn group.
So while this might not be the match-up Raptors fans wanted to start these playoffs with, for the media folks, there are narratives aplenty.
A few interesting stats regarding this series:
Career playoff points by roster: Nets: 6,197. Raptors: 725
Since Jan 1: Nets 34-17, +2.0 net rating; Raps 34-19, +4.6 net rating
So, yes, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Nets favoured by Vegas when the series odds are released.
But this could backfire big time for Brooklyn. This Raptors team has played with a bit of a chip on their shoulder almost all season and it sounds like Tim Leiweke and the Raptors' Marketing staff are running with this idea via the new "#WetheNorth" campaign.
The Nets purposely falling into the sixth seed to take on the Raps will only enlargen that chip, and provides a great motivational tool for Casey and co. to lean on.
Oh...and Raptors' fans will have a BIT of extra venom in them for this series now won't they?
We'll get our playoff coverage started tomorrow morning and be running some back and forths with our friends at Nets Daily, SB Nation's Brooklyn Nets' blog.
Looking forward to this folks, it's been a long time coming.