It could've been worse. The Brooklyn Nets began their playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, and found themselves way down in the hole before we even looked up. They fought back to make it close, but couldn’t regain the lead and wound up getting blown out. It happens.
On the other side is the Toronto Raptors. The defending champs did what they needed to do and got the win. You can read the Toronto perspective here.
Where to follow the game
YES Network for us, NBATV for the out of towners. WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio side. Daytime affair so we're getting started after 1:30.
No Jamal Crawford.
Oshae Brissett left the bubble due to undergo a knee procedure and he’s out for this one.
If Garrett Temple isn't hitting open three pointers, then this one's gonna be over by the weekend. He went 1-10 from deep, and a fair amount of those were wide open. For the Nets, they have practically no margin for error so when they do get clean looks, they have to take full advantage.
Despite the ugly loss, it helps to shake off the playoff jitters. Brooklyn looked rattled early as they struggled to match the pressure from Toronto’s league leading defense. For what it’s worth, they didn’t quit and fought to at least make the Raptors sweat a bit. Daniel Reynolds of Raptors HQ has a bit more on the attempted rally:
Naturally, everyone in Toronto got just a little bit worried as a result. The Nets looked like like the hungrier team in that third quarter; Siakam had faded somewhat; the Raptors size and shooting advantage looked somehow diminished despite hitting 49 percent of their shots in the first half (and shooting a blistering 48 percent from three); and Toronto’s lead had shrunk all the way down from a massive 33 points to a mere eight. They headed into the fourth quarter up by nine which — even after leading the entire game — felt like a sensitive margin.
We probably should have just relaxed though. Despite some hot shooting from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (26 points) and the all-around fire of Caris LeVert, the Nets really were no match for the Raptors on the whole. Toronto started trapping LeVert early, Cabarrot lost his shooting match with VanVleet (who really was stellar and steady), and some stout play from OG Anunoby and (hey!) Terence Davis late put this one away entirely. All five starters for Toronto scored in double figures (with Ibaka joining them), and despite the Nets’ flurry in the third, there just wasn’t enough gas in their tank for more.
The first quarter will be key for the Nets. If they can stay within arm’s reach, they might be able to steal this one late.
Jarrett Allen acquitted himself fairly decently. He made some nice plays and even hit a snazzy buzzer beater to end the third quarter. He and the Nets had trouble with Serge Ibaka, who came up with 22 points and seven rebounds off the bench. He and Marc Gasol are a formidable duo, but if the Nets had their choice, they’d live with Gasol taking jumpers.
Player to watch: Fred Van Vleet
Van Vleet’s been living large for the past two years. He parlayed a great 2019 Playoffs into a solid 2020 campaign, a big payday this summer, and a big Game One. FVV scored a game high 30 points and hit some big threes that kept the Nets at bay. Of those 30, 24 came from three pointers. Toronto made 50 percent of their three pointers (22-44), so the Nets are gonna need to chase him off the line and make things a little harder.
Day two for Caris Levert running the show. The shot wasn’t there, but Levert helped out in other ways with 15 assists against five turnovers. Toronto threw a variety of defenders at Levert, and as the Nets look to get even, Levert will be the man to watch. He played 35 minutes in Game one, and I’m wondering if the Nets will need him to play even more. In times like this, you gotta ride your best player for as long as you can.
From the Vault
Last year, as the Raptors were celebrating their first championship in Oakland, the architect of that triumph, Masai Ujiri was trying to get to his team’s locker room. As Ujiri tried to get past an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy, a shoving match ensued. The deputy claimed Ujiri was the perpetrator and sued him. Now video of the altercation, aired by KTVU in Oakland, show that it was the deputy, Alan Strickland, who initiated the contact and shoved Ujiri not once but twice.
The video, from Strickland’s own body camera, also show the deputy then used profanity to tell Mr. Ujiri to back up, to which Mr. Ujiri responded: “Why did you...push me? I’m the President of the Raptors.” Ujiri then pushed back. That the video took more than a year to surface has enraged fans in Toronto. As well it should.
More reading: Raptors HQ
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Toronto Raptors Games Notes - Toronto Raptors
- Undermanned Nets face uphill climb in Game 2 vs. Raptors - STATS/TSX
- Lowry and the Raptors play Brooklyn with 1-0 series lead - AP
- Nets hoping to improve ball movement in Game 2 vs. Raptors - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Jarrett Allen will be Nets’ key to a Caris LeVert breakout - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- VanVleet’s range opens up Nets’ defense - Greg Logan - Newsday
- The Nets will make adjustments against the Raptors in Game 2, but that might not be enough to win - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- For the Nets, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s growth is undeniable - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Five areas the Nets must improve upon in Game 2 against the Raptors - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- Raptors’ Masai Ujiri countersues sheriff’s deputy; video shows ‘unjustified violence’ - Daniel Kaplan - The Athletic
- Nets unshaken by Game 1 loss to Raptors - John Torenli - Brooklyn Eagle
- NETS VS. RAPTORS: GAME 2 NBA PLAYOFFS PREVIEW - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Raptors shooters show they’re long shots, and good ones at that, with three-point mark - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Steady Freddy VanVleet has become the Raptors’ new No. 1 - Dave Feschuk - Toronto Star
- Watch: Body cam video shows sheriff’s deputy shoving Raptors president Masai Ujiri after NBA Finals - Ted Fraser & Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Extended range making VanVleet and Raptors that much tougher to handle - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- RAPTORS BLOG: Don’t worry about Siakam, VanVleet certainly isn’t - Ryan Wolstat - Toronto Sun
- New video sheds light on Finals altercation between deputy, Raptors president Ujiri - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- This year’s Raptors are not just good. They are imperious - Cathal Kelly - Toronto Globe & Mail
- New video footage shows sheriff’s deputy forcefully shoving Raptors president Masai Ujiri at NBA Finals - Tamsin McMahon - Toronto Globe & Mail