Raptors 98, Nets 96 (Game 5)
- This game started out just like just Game 3 & Game 4 but instead it was the Raps doing the damage. But where it diverged from the 2 previous games, the team that was rolling early could not hold their big lead to the end. The Raps nearly let an easy win slip away. The Nets had a chance to win, but Nachbar's 3pt. shot was off the mark.
- Best thing that happened to the Raps was that Ford had to exit the game. Jose Calderon was a one-man wrecking crew in the 1st half. With the Nets' M.O. to lay off the Raps' PGs, Calderon was drilling his jumper. He also was able to slash for a couple of lay-ins. Also, his ball pressure really effected Kidd & made it difficult for him to initiate the Nets offense.
- Said the Raps needed to hit their outside jumpers to improve their chances in my last recap, and they showed how you can improve your prospects by just hitting your jumpers, simple as that. Bargnani couldn't miss on his jumper in the 1st half, he cooled off some in the 2nd, but still finished with 18 pts on 6/9 shooting. Ant Parker was creating some offense off his pull-up jumpers all game (18 pts). And Mo Pete was a huge boost off the bench--17, 3/3 from 3pt. Mo Pete has not had much of an impact all series but he hit some big shots all game & he did a solid job defending Vince for most of the game. Another Rap who had been non-existent before Game 5 was Joey Graham, but he gave the Raps a nice bump with 10 rebs & a few strong finishes. They really needed this input from the role players since Bosh continued to struggle vs. the Nets. This game he was sidetracked by foul trouble which stunted his effectiveness on defense, but he still managed 4 blks anyway.
- The Raps' defense was exponentially better than it has been the last few games, the best they've played all series. The help rotations were much better, they were trapping well, and doubles on Vince were successful. Morris Peterson got the majority of the assignment on Vince & he did a pretty nice job. Their defense on the last play was commendable, the Raps did not allow Vince an easy look, so he had to pass off.
- Can't complain with the play of the Nets' big 3. Vince was still fairly aggressive mixing up his offense, I thought the Raps defended him better, but he still had 30. Jefferson continued his strong play (23 on 9/14) & had some impressive finishes in traffic. J Kidd was not quite as impressive as he has been, he cooled off from 3pt range, but still came close to another triple double--11, 10 & 7 rebs. Though Nachbar could not come thru from long-range on the last play or all game for that matter, Boci was 0/7 from 3pt.
- Have to hand it to Sam Mitchell for changing his starting lineup by sitting Rasho & playing Mo Pete more. This put 3 good shooters (Bargnani, Parker, & Mo) around Bosh & Ford/Calderon, and needed to be done because the Nets have been sagging around the painted area all series. I imagine Sam will stay with less Rasho the rest of the way.