Brooklyn Nets Vs. Toronto Raptors — Playoff Preview

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It’s that time of year. Sixteen teams remain, and every season whittles down to as few as four games. It’s the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and the Nets have made it for their second straight year in Brooklyn, finishing the season with a 44-38 record and earning the sixth seed.

A disappointing finish? Definitely. The Nets had championship aspirations from day one, and things went so awry in the first two months that there was a 95% chance they’d miss the playoffs entirely. But they turned it around in the calendar year 2014, beating the odds and re-entering the playoff picture within a month.

Their opponent? The Toronto Raptors, winners of the Atlantic Division for the first time since 2007. Also a third seed that year, the Raptors were upset in the first round in six games by their division rival — you guessed it — the sixth-seed New Jersey Nets. The Nets were led by — you guessed it again — Jason Kidd, who averaged a triple-double in that series: 14 points, 13.2 assists, and 10 rebounds per game in the six-game victory.

But a lot’s changed in seven years. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of this year’s Nets-Raptors matchup, including position-by-position matchups, a look at how the Nets got here, expertise on this year’s Raptors, bold predictions, ridiculous fan art, video previews, podcasts, and much, much more.

Enjoy. Go Nets!

Kyle Lowry, Paul PierceNets vs. Raptors: Breakdown

Looking at the matchups

We can’t know for sure if this is the matchup the Nets wanted, but it’s the one they got. How do the Nets match up across the board — and who’s got the edge? The Brooklyn Game team breaks it down.

Start here…

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Deron WilliamsA Tale of Two Seasons

Changes in Brooklyn

On December 31st, 2013, the Brooklyn Nets stood 10-21, were well out of the playoff hunt, and had just lost their All-Star center Brook Lopez for the season. Four months later, the Nets rode a 34-17 end of the season to the playoffs. What happened exactly, and how did they turn it around?

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Kevin Garnett, Jonas ValanciunasPredictions?

Predictions!

We go around the horn at The Brooklyn Game to give our bold predictions on this Nets-Raptors series: who will surprise, who will matter, and who we think moves on to the next round.

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DeMar DeRozan, Amir JohnsonSo Who Are The Raptors?

Analysis From An Expert

You know all about the Brooklyn Nets already. You’ve watched them all season. But what about their opponent? Raptors expert and Toronto resident Blake Murphy joins us to answer a few questions about the Atlantic Division Winner, and who he thinks takes the series.

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Nets Podcast: Playoff Bonanza!

Two-Part Podcast

The Glue Guys are back with a double-feature! Elliot, Mike, and Brian are joined by The Brooklyn Game’s managing editor Devin Kharpertian to break down the first-round matchup between the Nets & Raptors, offering predictions, analysis, and just enough tangents. Part 2 looks at the entire playoff picture, offering predictions on each matchup — all the way to the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Listen here…

cory-litwinNets-Raptors Fan Art

Dino Eyes, Rapper beefs, & more

A gallery of some of the best Nets-Raptors fan art we’ve seen around the internet. Keep your eyes peeled.

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Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Jason Collins, Andrei KirilenkoOffensive X-Factor

Who’s the key to this series?

Every team has their X-Factor on offense, someone who doesn’t get a lot of publicity but can swing a game or two in a playoff series. In a video for YES Network, Devin Kharpertian explains who he thinks the Nets X-factor on offense is — and why.

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DeMar DeRozan; Kyle LowryKey Matchup To Watch

Who to keep an eye on

In every playoff series, there’s one matchup that makes a difference game in and game out. In a video for YES Network, Devin Kharpertian tells you which Nets-Raptors matchup to keep an eye on if you want an idea of who’s winning the series — and how.

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Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza TeletovicAndrei Kirilenko

The Defensive X-Factor

The Nets signed Andrei Kirilenko this offseason to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer, and if the Nets make it far in the playoffs, he’ll have his hands full. Devin Kharpertian dishes on how important Kirilenko’s defense is come playoff time.

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Vince CarterA History of the Rivalry

Nets-Raptors, This Year & Last Time

The Nets & Raptors played four times this season, but the rivalry goes back further. William Rausch takes a trip back through this season and 2007 to provide a little context for the team’s histories. As a bonus: do you know which team has the all-time edge over the other?

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Best Bars To Watch Nets Games

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Best Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets: ManhattanBest Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets: BrooklynBest Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets: New Jersey

Best Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets; QueensBest Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets; Staten IslandBest Bars To Watch The Brooklyn Nets: Bronx

The Brooklyn Game: Exclusive Interviews

The Brooklyn Game’s exclusive in-depth interviews with the Brooklyn Nets:

Joe JohnsonJoe Johnson, Clutch Machine:

The Anatomy Of A Crunch-Time Scorer

In the 2012-2013 season, Nets guard Joe Johnson had four chances to hit a game-winning shot. He buried all four, each with a high degree of difficulty and needing exact precision.

For the first time ever, Johnson sits down and watches those game-winning shots with The Brooklyn Game, narrating on film in real-time just how he created the look.

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Shaun LivingstonShaun Livingston, Court Vision

On-Court and Off-Court Perspective

Shaun Livingston has thrived in Brooklyn as a “glue guy,” standing out by fitting in.

The new role makes sense for Livingston, who grew up a gangly biracial kid shuffling between antithetic private and public schools in Peoria, Illinois, code-shifting between racial and social classes.

Listen to him break down in real time his NBA court vision, and read his thoughts on a unique upbringing.

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Andrei KirilenkoAndrei Kirilenko, Stopper:

The Off-Ball Superstar

Andrei Kirilenko started as a 15-year-old professional player in Russia. Now, he’s defending NBA superstars like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. But how did he learn how to play defense?

Kirilenko watches some of his better defensive plays and narrates in real-time the different strategies for defending the NBA and the league’s top players.

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Mirza TeletovicMirza Teletovic: The Role?

After a DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision) in a game where the Nets were missing multiple rotation players in November, The Brooklyn Game sat down with Teletovic to see if he felt he had a role in Brooklyn.

In the following months, Teletovic carved out a niche as a rotation shooter. But it wasn’t always that way.

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