No surprise here.
The Toronto Raptors completed the second sweep of this year’s playoffs as their next opponent, the Celtics, completed the sweep over the 76ers earlier.
The depleted Nets were never a match for the defending champions and the Raptors put them away with no problem, winning by a hefty margin, 150-122. The only concern is Kyle Lowry’s left ankle injury, but he should have enough time to recover before their second-round series against the Celtics.
The Raptors bench also had a historic night as they scored 100 points which accounts to a new NBA record, breaking the Warriors 43-year-old record of 94.
Siakam continued his form from Game 3 and had a stat line of 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists. Norman Powell also had another great game to finish off the series, scoring 29 off the bench. Serge Ibaka continued his quiet but magnificent series and put on a show tonight as well, finishing with 27 points and 15 rebounds.
Nick Nurse played his bench for most of the fourth quarter as they were already up big through the first three. Another total team effort lead to this dominant win to finish off the mediocre Nets which was a warm-up to their tough task waiting ahead against the Celtics.
Brooklyn has a lot of positives to take out of this series. Jack Vaughn did as much as he could with his given roster and LeVert showed that he could perform at the highest level against elite teams, creating the good problem of how he will fit on the team next year when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving return to the lineup.
Young players like Luwawu-Cabarut and Allen gain valuable playoff experience as they played key roles in the attempt to beat the Raptors.
Here are 3 key takeaways from the Raptors-Nets first round series:
VanVleet and Powell Will Be Raptors’ Catalysts In A Deep Playoff Run
VanVleet showed out putting up 30, 24, and 22 in the first three games of the series. He only scored 9 points in Game 4 as he only played 18 minutes. He also played like a primary distributor dishing out a high number of assists in the series.
Fred played like the way he did in last year’s Finals against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. He will play a key role in the Raptors’ playoff run and is a 4th quarter player as he comes up in the clutch moments of the game.
Powell comes off the bench and provides the scoring boost that every team covets. ‘Playoff Powell’ is known for his remarkable performances in the playoffs, building his reputation through previous playoff runs. He will be essential in helping the Raptors win the bench battles against future opponents like the Boston Celtics.
LeVert Has Potential To Lead His Own Team
The Nets have a luxury of talent that they will need to sort through next year with the arrival of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Caris LeVert’s minutes will need to be handled with a lot of care. He scored 35 points in Brooklyn’s effort in Game 4.
It’s uncertain how Brooklyn will manage his time on court and those decisions have been made a lot more difficult with his performances in the bubble, including this series.
One option would be to trade LeVert for another 3rd star to play behind Kyrie and KD. LeVert could develop and lead his own team elsewhere while the nets would acquire a player that might fit better with the team.
This series has complicated these decisions and it will be interesting to see what Brooklyn does during the off-season.
Raptors Team Success
When the Raptors play as a collective unit, they are unstoppable. They move onto the second round to face the Boston Celtics, passing through the first round while sticking to their identity of being a defensively-staunch, solid shooting team.
The primary bench players, Powell and Ibaka, will play an integral role in the series and help the Raptors stick to their identity.
The Raptors blew through the Nets and will now face the Celtics. Fans now wait in anticipation of this enticing matchup.
Toronto moves on. Brooklyn learns some valuable lessons.
It’s time for the next round.