With a win against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, the Toronto Raptors locked up second in the East and a date with the Brooklyn Nets in Round 1 of the playoffs.
Since the disastrous performance against the Boston Celtics on Friday night, the Toronto Raptors have been rolling. On a filled Sunday afternoon, the Raptors easily secured the second spot in the East while the Nets beat a Paul George’less Clippers squad to secure the seventh seed, thus setting up a Raptors vs Nets Round 1 matchup.
The Regular Season record favors the Raptors at 3-1 with their most recent matchup February 12th being their only loss. Saying this, all games were relatively close with three meetings being within 10 points.
Brooklyn Nets Bubble Preview
The Nets playoff chances took a MASSIVE dive if they had any to begin with when seven Nets opted-out of the return to play scenario. There was chatter during the hiatus that Kevin Durant would try to make an early return to play in these late playoffs, but that was quickly shut down by Durant and company.
Same went for Kyrie Irving who had a shoulder operation this February, but he was very openly against the NBA resumption stating player safety and civil unrest. Suggesting players should opt-out as a protest against systematic racism. DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Taurean Prince also opted out after all testing positive for COVID-19.
Nonetheless, the Nets have soldiered. Going 4-2 so far in the bubble while beating some Larry O’Brien contenders in the Bucks and Clippers. Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarret Allen have been leading the way for Brooklyn all averaging around 20 points a game in the bubble with Allen averaging near 10 rebounds a game. Breakout play from Timothe Luawawu-Cabarrot has also helped the Nets remain a competitive team in the return to play.
This Nets team won’t go down easy and is playing with an underdog mentality. The Toronto Raptors will have to come ready to play every night and should not take this team lightly or they’ll have a rude awakening on their way home from the bubble.