The Toronto Raptors make their first playoff appearance since 2008 as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both teams have taken unlikely paths to reach this point, but the Raptors are favored to close out the series by either Game 6 or 7.
Toronto made a huge mid-season shift when they traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, but the team's young talent along with Kyle Lowry have helped propel it into the postseason. DeMar DeRozan shined for the Raptors, averaging a career-high 22.7 points per game as he took on more responsibility without Gay. Lowry also had a monster year, averaging 17.9 points and 7.4 assists per game.
Brooklyn survived a roller coaster year under rookie head coach Jason Kidd. Assistant coach changes, a season-ending injury to Brook Lopez and a long period of time outside of the playoffs slowly turned around for the new-look Nets. Now, Deron Williams has a veteran cast around him with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trying to find their way to playoff glory once again.
This should be a close series, but Toronto does hold a slight edge, via Bovada:
|Raptors win in 6||9/2|
|Raptors win in 7||9/2|
|Raptors win in 5||11/2|
|Raptors win in 4||14/1|
|Nets win in 6||4/1|
|Nets win in 7||4/1|
|Nets win in 5||11/2|
|Nets win in 4||12/1|