The Toronto Raptors will be looking to tie their series with the Brooklyn Nets at two on Sunday night before returning home to game five. Game four is a near must-win for the Raptors, as it will be tough to recover from a 3-1 deficit against a team with as much playoff experience as the Nets.
Heading into game four, the Raptors will need to address what has been their biggest issue in the series. Toronto has committed 59 turnovers in just three games, while the Nets have only committed 31. The Raptors will need to take better control of the ball on the offensive end if they want to head home with the series tied.
Another question for the Raptors heading into game four will be Terrence Ross. The young sophomore showed signs of brilliance during the regular season, including a 51 point explosion against the Los Angeles Clippers. In the playoffs however, Ross has scored just 10 points in three games.
The Raptors will need Ross’ outside shooting to space the floor and open up driving lanes for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. While Toronto has lost the turnover battle in the series, they have outrebounded the Nets in every game. Much of this is due to the play of the Raps’ other sophomore, Jonas Valanciunas. The big man from Lithuania has had a double-double in all three games and has been a handful on the glass for Brooklyn.
Despite their size advantage down low, Valanciunas was not a frequent feature in the Raptors’ offensive game in game three. Valanciunas was perfect from the field, but only took four shots. Toronto will need to feature Valanciunas more in their offensive game to counteract the scoring of the Nets guards.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams torched the Raptors in game three as they combined for 51 points. The Raptors have not been able to come up with an answer for Williams and Johnson. Landry Fields has played solid defense on Johnson at times, but Johnson is at his best when the buckets matter the most.
Every game of this series has come down to the final few possessions, even when one team holds a 15 point lead in the fourth quarter. The Raptors will have to pull up their socks and brush off the lint from their shorts if they want to come away with a critical road victory.