The Toronto Raptors (2 seed) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (7 seed) 104-99 in Game 2, taking a 2-0 series lead. Boston has also taken a commanding 2-0 lead against Philadelphia and looks to meet Toronto in the second round.

ImageThe Raptors’ 3 Stars

The guards stole the show in Game 2. Fred VanVleet led the charge again, this time with a 24 point, 10 assist double-double (2). Kyle Lowry was right behind him, producing his own 21 point performance on 50% shooting from the field (7/14) and from beyond the arc (3/6). “North Philly’s Finest” also added a team-high 9 rebounds and a game-high 2 steals.

Norman Powell was Toronto’s hero. His 24 point perofmrance tied VanVleet’s for the game-high. It was his performance in the 4th quarter that really separated him from the pack. “Playoff Powell” made his appearance, pouring in 6 of his 7 (85.7%) field goal attempts in the final 12 minutes for 12 points, including the steal and slam dunk that iced the game for the Raptors.

 

Protect ya Balls!

Brooklyn held the lead for 35 minutes of play but this was a tightly contested match from the opening tip. After the first quarter, Toronto never trailed by more than 10 points.

Close games are historically decided by taking care of the basketball and this was true for this contest. The Raptors are notorious for their defensive acumen. The Raptors committed only 8 turnovers this game with a turnover percentage of only 7.5%. The Nets’ 17 turnovers were sloppy by contrast. Their 14.9% turnover percentage is what ultimately cost them the game. Those turnovers turned into 23 Raptors’ points.

Winning from the InsideImage

Despite middling performances from Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors’ dominated the Nets on the inside. 46 points in the paint far surpassed Brooklyn’s 32 points. The Raptors changed the dimensions of the Nets’ defence with their multiple shooters. This opened up the floor for their slashers to penetrate the paint for high percentage baskets.

33 of the Raptors’ 87 total shot attempts (37.9%) came from the restricted area. Toronto shot 63.6% (21/33) on those shot attempts. Defensively, “The North” gave the Nets minimal opportunities on the inside. Of their 85 shots, Brooklyn was only allowed 16 (18.8%) from the restricted area.

The Series Continues

Game 3 of this playoff series will be on Friday at 1:30 PM/EST. Toronto will try to build their series lead to a near insurmountable 3-0. Only 5 teams in North American sports history have overcome a 3-0 deficit and 0 teams in the NBA have overcome that hurdle. Look forward to seeing the Toronto Raptors’ “A-Game” on Friday!