One of the more intriguing match ups in the first round of the Eastern Conference First Round is the Raptors versus the Nets. The 6 seeded Nets avoided reaching the 5 seed, in order to face the Raptors, but this strategy may turn up detrimental for them. The season series between the two is at a tie of 2-2, and neither team can claim dominance over the other:
November 26th: 102-100 Nets
January 11th: 96-80 Raptors
January 27th: 104-103 Raptors
March 10th: 101-97 Nets
In the playoffs, in order for the Raptors to claim dominance, they will have to use their young players to their advantage. All of the Raptors starters are below 30 years, while the Nets start 3-5 players above the age of 30. The Raptors are slightly inexperienced, and need to push that fact to the side. Game 1 will be huge for the Raptors, as they need to finish the series early. The Nets veterans know how to close out series, and they know how to win close and pressure games. The Raptors, on the other hand, have never been in close playoff games. If they can win game 1, and maintain the lead the entire series, the Raptors will have a great chance of advancing to the 2nd round.
For the Nets, it is the exact opposite. The Nets are an experienced team, who want to keep the young players in check. By keeping games close, winning at least one game on the road, and using their experience under pressure, the Nets will be able to win the series.
In my opinion, the Nets experience will win out versus the Raptors. Obviously, these two teams are evenly matched, and the games will be close. When this occurs, the Nets experience will be crucial and will pull out the wins. Also in the playoffs, there is at least one day rest in between games. This is important for the Nets, as they will always be fresh versus the young stars of the Raptors. Overall, the Nets experience will win in close games, and will win the series.
If you are looking for close games, and a 7 game series, this is the match up you want to watch.
Keys to series:
Keeping game close - Can the Nets keep the games close, and finish games?
Jumping out to an early lead - Can the Raptors use their young stars to close the game before the 4th?
Freshness - Can the Nets stay fresh and injury free?