Who are the Toronto Raptors’ top 5 current rivals?

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Jose Calderon (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets

Yes, it’s another Atlantic division team but it can’t be helped. The Atlantic division is stacked and happens to have 3 teams that the Raptors have had a rocky history with. This team especially.

This rivalry goes way back to when Vince Carter was traded to the Nets back in 2004. But the fun stuff really started in the 2014 Eastern Conference First-Round where the two teams faced off.

The series began with Masai Ujiri yelling expletives in the general direction of Brooklyn prior to Game 1 to get the crowd going in Maple Leaf Square. The two teams went back and forth all the way to Game 7 where the Raptors were shut down with a 104-103 loss after Paul Pierce’s block in the final seconds.

After the Nets big three experiment, with the Celtics former big three, dissolved the Nets hit a bit of a rough patch. This lasted a few years were rough as they were in a rebuild mode with a limited number of draft picks. This kept them out of the running for a while until the Nets performed a number of trades and acquisition to sneak into the 2019 playoffs.

Now with a flip in the roster to make space for their new big three NBA fans know that they’ll be looking to take one of the top spots in the East. This is the new era for the Nets and the rivalry between Toronto and Brooklyn.

It is two pieces within their new big three that’ll spur on the rivalry to the next level. The first being Kyrie Irving who Raptors fans know all too well. After a number of run-ins with Irving in the playoffs during his time with the Cavaliers, Toronto will be looking to shut down the offensive powerhouse by any means necessary.

The second part being Kevin Durant. If it were the beginning of the summer many Raptors fans would have said that Kyrie was the main component that would drive this rivalry. But just a couple weeks ago during an interview, Durant took a jab at the Raptors by saying “it will probably be the last time they will be in the finals“.

This especially stung after Toronto fans felt so bad about how they cheered as he walked off due to injury in Game 5 of the Finals that they ended up starting a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $25,000 for Durant’s charity foundation.

With Kevin Durant’s injury keeping him out of action at least until the new year if not the whole season, Raptors fans may have a while until they can potentially face off against the former MVP.

To add fuel to the fire, there are a couple of players that have switched sides over the years.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the young 24-year-old forward that has recently been acquired by the Raptors, will want to prove to the Nets why they should have kept him around.

Secondly, there’s always been a small chip on the shoulder of DeMarre Carroll seeing as he wasn’t able to fulfill his role as the defensive edge on LeBron for the Raptors. With the rivalry ramping up, I’m sure he’ll want to play his part in getting the better of the North Side during the season series.

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Raptors fans will have to wait a little while before they face the Kings of New York. The first game between the two isn’t scheduled until December 14, 2019. But it will surely bring high emotions to the Scotiabank Arena.