The Toronto Raptors are outclassing the Brooklyn Nets at every turn in the first round of the bubble playoffs.
The Brooklyn Nets made a valiant run in the NBA’s bubble, but it appears to be coming to a close. The Toronto Raptors thrashed the Nets 117-92 in Game 3 and took a commanding 3-0 series lead that is all but insurmountable.
Brooklyn hung around through the first three quarters, but Toronto turned up the intensity to another level once the fourth quarter started. The Raptors outscored the Nets 33-24 in the quarter, but it wasn’t really that close. Toronto head coach Nick Nurse pulled his starters with five minutes left and a 29-point lead.
Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Serge Ibaka led the way for the Raps. All three guys finished with 20 points or more, but the offense wasn’t the main reason for Toronto’s dominance on Friday afternoon.
The Nets were held to 92 points on 33.3% from the field. Brooklyn jacked up an eye-popping 51 but only converted on 16. Toronto’s suffocating defense held Jarrett Allen to four points and he didn’t even attempt a field goal. That’s right, Allen was playing better than any Net in this series, but he didn’t even attempt a field goal in Game 3.
To his credit, he corralled 17 rebounds and dished out three assists, but that kind of performance is unacceptable. Brooklyn’s guards needed to do a better job of looking for him and head coach Jacque Vaughn needed to find ways to get him the ball in a position to score.
The Nets were always going to be behind the eight-ball once they started losing key player after key player to injuries and opt-outs. The latest casualty—Joe Harris—left the bubble after Game 2 to attend to a non-medical personal matter. If the Nets manage to steal Game 4, Harris could potentially return in time for Game 5, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
Losing is never fun, but it’s important to remember the big picture. The Nets are going to be a championship contender next season (whenever that may be). If Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are fully healthy, the Nets are going to be dangerous in the Eastern Conference.
The Bubble Nets were a ton of fun to watch in the seeding games and they even gave the Raptors a scare in Game 2, but they just don’t have the firepower needed to make any kind of playoff run this season. Good job, good effort from the Nets in Orlando, but this series is all but over.
Brooklyn and Toronto will square off again on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET) in what could be the final game of the season for the black and white.