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Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors Prediction

Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors Prediction

August 21

17:30

Brooklyn Nets

Toronto Raptors

Already down two games in what could be a very brief postseason this summer, the Brooklyn Nets look to halve their playoff deficit when they take to the floor on Friday for Game 3 against a motivated Toronto Raptors side.

Despite some shaky scoring numbers, Fred VanVleet was again impressive on the whole - becoming the first player in Raptors history to record successive 20-point, 10-assist playoff performances.

Can Brooklyn keep the ball out of his hands while making it tougher for Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam to score? Read my basketball preview, for the best betting odds ahead of this compelling H2H clash.

Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors preview

By all accounts, the Nets delivered a spirited display in Game 2 and yet find themselves slowly edging closer to a first-round exit. Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen combined to good effect as the Raptors were down 14 early. Despite clawing back level after work from Siakam and co, the Raptors were still down by ten in the third quarter.

VanVleet had other ideas though, sinking a couple of threes before Garrett Temple did the same for Brooklyn.

He had 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting! For context, in 62 regular season games, the 34-year-old only recorded more points three times. Joe Harris, who had 14 rebounds and 14 points in 39 minutes, left the NBA bubble for an undisclosed personal matter yesterday. He'll be sorely missed.

Key players to watch out for:

Nets - Jarrett Allen

The young center had 14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and a game-high three blocks in Game 2. They're all above his season averages, but the 22-year-old can and still needs to do more if Brooklyn are going to turn this around.

Only LeVert (11) had more assists, but their star shooting guard also took better care of the ball in his hands. No-one recorded more than his five turnovers, which isn't a welcome sight at a critical juncture where every possession is magnified.

If he learns from his mistakes while being more aggressive and efficient on offense, the Nets have a real chance.

Raptors - Pascal Siakam

After a decent but unspectacular display in Game 2, it'll be interesting to see if Spicy P is more efficient here. He had 19 points, six rebounds, three assists, a block and steal - but shot just under 50% from the field (6-of-14).

No-one across the court missed more than his four free-throws (5/9), either. It's unlikely he'll have to step up his scoring production until the later rounds, barring an unlikely collapse in this series.

But improved numbers and forward momentum wouldn't exactly hurt a player who continued growing into a star this season.

Expert's prediction

Match prediction: Toronto Raptors to win

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Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors head to head

According to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, Toronto are clear favourites (69.6%) to make it 3-0 against an undermanned Nets side. FiveThirtyEight's win probability statistics are even more emphatically in the corner of Nick Nurse's men - 86% - which may seem harsh on the surface.

However, with news of Joe Harris' bubble departure on Wednesday, another key player is missing for a depleted Nets roster. Can they spring a surprise, like Orlando did to take Game 1 against the top seed Milwaukee Bucks?

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Who will win?

Brooklyn Nets (0)

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Toronto Raptors (0)

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Brooklyn Nets
vs
Toronto Raptors
Predicted Lineup

Garrett Temple

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Caris LeVert

Jarrett Allen

Rodions Kurucs

Fred VanVleet

Pascal Siakam

Kyle Lowry

Marc Gasol

OG Anunoby

Mosope Ominiyi
20.08.2020

Freelance sports editor and writer. Featured on the Sunday Times, MailOnline and more.

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