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Nets vs Raptors Game 2 opens Wednesday’s playoff schedule

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Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Two Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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.

Injuries

No Jamal Crawford.

Oshae Brissett left the bubble due to undergo a knee procedure and he’s out for this one.

The game

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