The Toronto Raptors evened their best-of-seven first round playoff series against the veteran Brooklyn Nets last night following a 100-95 victory at the Air Canada Centre, which provided a good look at what this young team needs to bring to the Big Apple as the tilt swings to Brooklyn this Friday. Since, you know, game 1 didn’t go so well…
An Inside Presence
Sophomore centre Jonas Valanciunas has been a beast inside the paint in the first two games of the series, averaging 16 points and 16 rebounds during that short stretch. The Raptors outrebounded the Nets by an incredible margin, 52-30, last night and they’ll need to do that again against their undersized, aging opponents.
DeMar DeRozan Needs to Stay Hot
How important is the performance of your All-Star? Pretty significant, as it turns out. DeRozan struggled in his first playoff game, finishing with just 14 points on 3-13 shooting, but dominated the end of last night’s victory by scoring 10 of his 30 points in the final three minutes. We’ll be in good shape if he can continue that clutch play.
Get Under Their Skin
We saw flashes of Kevin Garnett’s temperament last night after he was awarded a technical for, well, being Kevin Garnett. Rattling some of the Nets’ savvy veterans is one way to disrupt their usual ice cold (see: clutch and composed) play during key stretches of the game. It doesn’t take much to lure that second technical and force an ejection…
Raptors fans have often been called among the best in the NBA, which they proved during the series’ first two home games as they brought the noise inside and party outside of the ACC to spur on the city’s lone April playoff team. Send them your tweets and Instagrams, tailgate outside the Barclay’s Centre, and crash their arena… whatever it takes to show this team some love on the road.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)