LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 19: Caris LeVert #22 of the Brooklyn Nets drives against Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 19, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets gave the Toronto Raptors a scare, but couldn’t overcome Caris LeVert’s horrendous shooting.

Danny Small

The Brooklyn Nets just don’t have it. They’ve had a nice run in the bubble, but Tuesday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors will sting for a long time. It wasn’t a blowout like Game 1, but it hurts even more.

Brooklyn jumped out to an early lead, which they held for most of the game. Toronto gave the Nets every opportunity to pull away, but they never could. And by letting the Raptors hang around long enough, the Nets allowed them to flash their championship pedigree in the fourth quarter.

With the Nets down three with 15 seconds left, they needed a three to tie it, but things devolved rather quickly.

The initial action didn’t spring Joe Harris free and Kyle Lowry’s pesky defense bothered him to the point where he started playing hot potato with Garrett Temple. Norman Powell stole the ball and finished with an exclamation point on the other end, scoring the easiest two points of his 24 on the day.

Brooklyn needed a three on that possession and Harris is a guy you want taking that shot, but the game should never have come down to that final play. Brooklyn’s biggest star laid an egg when they needed him to be the guy.

Caris LeVert’s Struggles Continue

Simply put, this loss is on Caris LeVert. Sure, he scored 16 points, dished out 10 assists, and scooped up six boards, but stats can be misleading. LeVert was 5-for-22 from the floor, 0-for-4 from three, and 6-for-9 on his free throws. After being named to the second-team All-Bubble for his play in the seeding games, LeVert is disappearing in the playoffs.

Combining his numbers from the first two games of this series, he’s 10-for-36 from the floor, 0-for-5 from three, and 11-for-15 from the line. With the Nets missing so many key contributors, they desperately needed the best version of LeVert to even have a chance in this series.

Prior to the series, I wrote this:

“One monster game from LeVert could be enough for the Nets to steal a win and we know the shifty guard is capable of that kind of outburst. After all, he exploded for 51 points in a comeback victory over the Boston Celtics earlier this season.”

He’s still capable of having that outburst and carrying the Nets to a win in Game 3, but this is a huge missed opportunity. We’ll see how he responds to this loss because LeVert is the undisputed star on this team and this loss falls on his shoulders.

We know LeVert is as resilient as any player in the league, so count him out at your own risk. Brooklyn and Toronto will run it back on Friday afternoon (1:30 p.m. ET)

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