Raptors do not want to play the Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are an interesting team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. A year ago, led by the offensive exploits of D’Angelo Russell, the Nets lost to Philadelphia in a five-game first-round playoff series. However, game two of that playoff matchup was telling.
In a 145-123 loss, the Nets bench produced 80 points19 coming from the Nets now starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie thanks to an off-season sign and trade of D’Angelo Russell coupled with Kyrie Irving’s injury woes.
If you followed the Nets last season, they were a hard-working team no matter the score under head coach Kenny Atkinson and are just as industrious this season. At 30-34, when the season was suspended, they would be the Raptors’ potential first-round matchup. If so, the Raptors will need to work hard from the start of the playoff season.
Just 41-56 all-time in the regular season against the Raptors, they have always been a thorn in Toronto’s playoff hopes most notably in 2007 and again in 2014 with first-round playoff victories. This season Brooklyn is just 1-3 in four games during the season against Toronto. However, on February 8th, 2020 they lost by just 1 point and all four games have been decided by an average of 4.5 points.
In other terms, the Nets have been within three possessions despite the losing record against Toronto. Playoff games tightly contested against the Nets could mean an extended six or seven-game series taxing the Raptors’ mental and physical reserves early with the possibility of facing two of Philadelphia, Boston, and or Milwaukee to even think about getting back to the NBA Finals.
Brooklyn does turn the ball over 15.5 times per game which is good for the Raptors aggressive defense and is rated only 108.1 offensively for 23rd in the league. However, like the Raptors, the Nets do get double-digit scoring from six players led by Spencer Dinwiddie at 20.6 per game (keep in mind Kyrie Irving is unavailable to play) and work hard defensively rated eighth overall in the Association.
The Nets cannot be taken lightly by anyone at the top of the Eastern Conferences playoff bracket and they could be a spoiler the Toronto Raptors wish to avoid.