Zach Lowe previews Raps-Nets
Old 04-18-2014, 04:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Previews for all the series here -

NBA Playoffs Preview

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1. Will the Basketball Gods Punish Brooklyn for Tanking Into the No. 6 Spot?

Oh, right. The Nets were “resting” guys. The basketball gods see all. These have been arguably the two best teams in the East since January 1, when Brooklyn committed to a wacky brand of small ball with Paul Pierce at power forward. But the Raps have been better by point differential, and the Nets should not have looked at this matchup with such glee — despite their huge experience edge.

2. How Healthy Is Amir Johnson?

The Raptors have been about as good defensively this season regardless of Johnson’s presence, but that hasn’t usually been the case, and they’ve slumped over the last two months as Johnson has battled injuries. Jonas Valanciunas finished strong offensively, but Johnson remains Toronto’s best two-way big, and the Raps have used him to guard Pierce against the Nets’ small-ball lineups.

The Nets have used Pierce’s speed and dribbling ability well against Johnson, luring Johnson into the paint so Pierce can spot up for 3s, and working Pierce as the screener in pick-and-rolls to get Johnson moving.

The Nets have the size edge all over the perimeter, and they’re going to post up a ton. Joe Johnson has gone hard at Terrence Ross on the block, and Shaun Livingston will seize any chance to attack Kyle Lowry or Greivis Vasquez; the Raps will use DeMar DeRozan on Livingston to counter this, but Deron Williams can also get some traction against Lowry down low.

The Raps have toyed with using Amir Johnson on Joe Johnson, but the Nets are going to find post-up edges regardless. Whether Toronto can help and recover without surrendering open 3s to the wrong players will probably determine the series; only two teams have launched more 3s than Brooklyn since the calendar flipped to 2014.

3. Do the Raptors Have Any Edges?

They generally avoid turnovers, crucial against a steals-happy Brooklyn team, though the Nets forced Toronto into a lot of them during head-to-head matchups. Lowry, the most insane All-Star snub in years, showered the Nets with a hail of 3-pointers; Lowry averaged 22 points on 50 percent shooting, including 13-of-27 from deep, in four wild games against Brooklyn. The Nets come out pretty aggressively on the pick-and-roll, and Lowry has been able to lure them into tiny little missteps that create just enough space for him to fire.

Toronto should also be able to kill Brooklyn on the boards, provided the Raptors keep playing big; the Nets ranked 28th in defensive rebounding rate.

Brooklyn’s edge in crunch-time play has been overhyped, despite Johnson’s historic run of hero shots. The Raps are indeed uneven when they need a bucket in the clutch; they rank just 20th in points per possession in the last three minutes of close games, per NBA.com. But Brooklyn ranks 24th, and both teams finished around .500 in those games. (All those sample sizes are tiny and possibly meaningless, by the way, though the Raps were horrific in crunch time last season.)

The lack of back-to-backs favors Brooklyn, but keep an eye on John Salmons. He shot just 27 on the second end of back-to-backs, and his shooting percentage ticked up the more days off Toronto had between games. He’s a bulkier defensive option than Ross, a usable secondary ball handler, and a potential key cog if Dwane Casey decides to downsize and go small along with Brooklyn. Ditto for Steve Novak, who should be able to hide against Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko, and other second-unit guys.

The Nets’ ability to switch on and off the ball might create some issues for Toronto; they’ve been comfortable switching Pierce from Johnson onto DeRozan.


PREDICTION: Nets in six
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Even 3/4 of the Starters picked the nets.

Only Skeets picked raps in 7 lol
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by J-Bo View Post
Even 3/4 of the Starters picked the nets.

Only Skeets picked raps in 7 lol
YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUU GOTTAA BELIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVE.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He seems to forget to mention one very important player, 2pat is mobile enough to guard Pierce if needed and his 3pt shooting is will open up the floor for DD.

Imo Ross will not be able to guard Johnoson in the post, but the only way they can take advantage of that is to lure our bigs away from there. So KG at the 5 and Pierce/Kirilenko at 4. If that happens I would expect Casey to switch DD on Johnson defensively. On the offensive end Amir and JV should have their way with that kind of lineup ( especially Amir)
Also while Livingston (6ft 7) is a better player, but i don't think he is going to have his way in the post against Vasquez (6ft 6). GV is going to be very important, if he can defend Livingston and play on the offense like he did lately it will be huge for us.

Lots of if's, but there are no clear advantages for the Nets we can certainly throw a punch of our own
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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First post here,

I find it to be annoying for the starters and the majority of the media to keep comparing this team to the 06/07 team. This is a defensive-minded and a very good road team, good bench, the offence isn't solely structured around a non leader in Bosh and instead has multiple sources that can score in bunches.The only similarity I see is in terms of experienced even the team names changed.

This series is a chance for the raps to truly prove to the nba media, let alone our own hockey deterministic media, that this is a team to watch. You can already see them coming around every time the Raptors are mention in an nbatv/TNT and they throw their full of shit acknowledgements our way.

Excited for tom, WICTORY BABY
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LOG View Post
He seems to forget to mention one very important player, 2pat is mobile enough to guard Pierce if needed and his 3pt shooting is will open up the floor for DD.

Imo Ross will not be able to guard Johnoson in the post, but the only way they can take advantage of that is to lure our bigs away from there. So KG at the 5 and Pierce/Kirilenko at 4. If that happens I would expect Casey to switch DD on Johnson defensively. On the offensive end Amir and JV should have their way with that kind of lineup ( especially Amir)
Also while Livingston (6ft 7) is a better player, but i don't think he is going to have his way in the post against Vasquez (6ft 6). GV is going to be very important, if he can defend Livingston and play on the offense like he did lately it will be huge for us.

Lots of if's, but there are no clear advantages for the Nets we can certainly throw a punch of our own
yeah, PP on PP is a matchup I think we will see a lot UNLESS JV can dominate KG, and even then it will be difficult to keep him in. When we missed PP in the last game, they really took advantage of Pierce at the 4, and I just don't see JV being able to crush KG like he did in that one game.

So I can see lots of raptor fans being quite angry with casey for keeping JV on the bench despite him having solid numbers.

While I respect JK and think he will end up a good coach, this is such a matchup dependent series, even by playoffs' standards, that I can see DC being the most crucial component to success. If Casey and his staff can dominate JK's crew, it could be the difference maker.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Says we suck in crunch time and comepltely ignores how good a 4Q team we are? Yawn. Rusbbish.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JoeyJoJo Shabbadu View Post
Says we suck in crunch time and comepltely ignores how good a 4Q team we are? Yawn. Rusbbish.
We perform well above average during the first ten minutes of the fourth, and definitely underperform during the last two minutes.
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