NBA Picks: Raptors vs. Nets Game 3

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:56 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 2:56 PM GMT

The Brooklyn Nets lost their way on the defensive end against the Toronto Raptors last time out, but things will be much different in the third game of this best-of-seven series Friday night.

DeRozan Show
Toronto tied its first-round series 1-1 by picking up a 100-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets as five-point home favorites in Game 2 Tuesday, while going OVER the betting total of 195. 

The Raptors were led by the extraordinary play of shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter—shaking off a disappointing 14-point performance in a 94-87 setback in the series opener.

It’s important to point out that the roster entered the 2014 NBA playoffs with just 156 games (39 starts) of postseason experience.

 
No Worries
Brooklyn went 28-13 SU at home during the 2013-14 regular season, including a 17-9 mark versus conference foes. 

The Nets simply have to hold serve at this venue to advance to the semifinals, but they’ll need to sure things up on the defensive end to accomplish that goal—allowing 36 points in the fourth quarter last time out.

The franchise is 6-3 all-time in playoff games against the Raptors.

Be sure to look at the live NBA Championship Odds available!

Driving to the Hoop
The Raptors will need to stay aggressive on the offensive end if they plan on winning this series, as they scored 28 points on drives to the basket in Game 2—more than double their number of 13 in that category in the opener. 

Toronto head coach Dwane Casey finished fifth in the NBA Coach of the Year voting—demonstrating that he’s capable of knowing the importance of this statistic moving forward.

 
Williams
The Nets are going to have a difficult time moving past the Raptors if point guard Deron Williams continues to struggle from the field, as he’s shot 13-of-35 (37 percent) from the field in the first two games.

The three-time NBA All-Star was a big reason why Brooklyn made a team-record 709 three-pointers during the regular season, but he may struggle to find his way against a defense that ranked 10th in the league in field goal percentage defense.

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Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers play the UNDER as one of their NBA playoff picks,  as the Nets will likely play their best defensive game of the series in this affair. 

Brooklyn first-year head coach Jason Kidd has watched his veteran club win all 16 games since the start of the regular season when holding opponents to under 90 points.

Expect a slugfest in the paint Friday.

NBA Pick: Under

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