Saturday, April 21 @ 12:30pm et New Jersey Nets @ Toronto Raptors
Tuesday, April 24 @ 7pm et New Jersey Nets @ Toronto Raptors
Friday, April 27 @ 7pm et Toronto Raptors @ New Jersey Nets
Sunday, April 29 @ 7:30pm et Toronto Raptors @ New Jersey Nets
*Tuesday, May 1 New Jersey Nets @ Toronto Raptors
*Friday, May 4 Toronto Raptors @ New Jersey Nets
*Sunday, May 6 New Jersey Nets @ Toronto Raptors
* - If nessecary
How They Got Here
Regular Season Record:
Chris Bosh (22.6)
Chris Bosh (10.8)
T.J. Ford (7.9)
Easily the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. The Raptors used the top pick in the draft, a key trade and a couple of European free agent signings to jump from cellar dweller to division winner seemingly overnight. The Raptors have a deep bench and a balanced offensive attack that has helped them weather a lot of injuries. This is a young team that should only get better in the coming years.
Acquired in the off-season, point guard T.J. Ford has fit right in as the team's top playmaker and second scoring option. Anthony Parker, who was playing in Europe last season, is a solid defender and clutch shooter from long range. Newly acquired Juan Dixon can light it up off the bench, while Jose Calderon is a much-improved shooter and can run the offence as well as Ford.
Chris Bosh took the leap this year from good, young player to all-star starter. He is one of the rare 20-10 players in the NBA and the definite leader of this team. Morris Peterson and Joey Graham split time at small forward. Both are decent defender, but Peterson is the better scoring option. Rasho Nesterovic is a steady force at centre, but is not terribly flashy. Rookie Andrea Bargnani has developed quickly and is now a key part of this offence. Unfortunately, Jorge Garbajosa suffered a terrible injury late in the season and will not return for the playoffs.
New Jersey Nets
Regular Season Record:
Vince Carter (25.3)
Jason Kidd (8.2)
Jason Kidd (9.2)
For the first time in recent memory, the New Jersey Nets are not the Atlantic Division champs. Injuries are the likely culprit, but an aging point guard and a porous defence are also factors. Still, the Nets have loads of playoff experience and should not be taken lightly.
Despite being a little long in the tooth, Jason Kidd is still an elite playmaker. He is a point guard who leads his team in rebounding and is among the league leaders in assists. What Kidd lacks in scoring touch is made up by shooting guard Vince Carter. Carter is electric offensively, but is invisible on the defensive end. Rookie Marcus Williams has played well behind Kidd, while Antoine Wright can fill it up when Carter needs a rest.
Small forward Richard Jefferson has been banged up this season, but his combination of offence and defence is key for the Nets. Mikki Moore has been a pleasant surprise at power forward with his high percentage scoring and adequate rebounding. Jason Collins starts at centre, but he doesn't provide much outside of steady defence. Cliff Robinson, Bostjan Nachbar and Josh Boone chip in off the bench.