The Toronto Raptors were expected to show their playoff inexperience against the veteran Brooklyn Nets, and they did. Fortunately, their slippery fingers and sluggish defensive close-outs haven’t proven disastrous, as the Raps go into halftime down just 4 at 50-46. The game looked close to slipping away early, as the Raps were on their heels during an 18-2 Nets run midway through Q1.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have keyed Brooklyn’s offense, combining for 30 points. Kevin Garnett has been tough defensively, but hasn’t hurt the Raps scoring.
Biggest problem: DeMar DeRozan’s shooting. Our All-Star guard has missed all 5 of his field goal attempts, including consecutive open corner 3-balls.
Biggest advantage: Jonas Valanciunas has being scoring and rebounding at a high rate. He’s got 9 points and 10 boards already.
Got to fix: The turnovers, which totaled 12, compared to the Nets’ 3.
Keep doing it: Kyle Lowry to the basket. He’s got 15 points, many on aggressive drives.
The Raps have taken the Nets’ punches and are still standing. If we get our swingmen going, and defend their guards better, I like our chances.