NBA

The Toronto Raptors Continue to Show the NBA Why They’re the Defending Champs After a Historic Series Win Over the Nets

The Toronto Raptors got off to a hot start during the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Looking to win another title, the Raptors had no problem with the Brooklyn Nets sweeping them in the first round.

The sweep was the first time in franchise history that the Raptors swept a team in the playoffs. Toronto is a team that can play for another title this year.

A look at the 2019-20 Toronto Raptors

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After winning the 2019 NBA title, the Raptors came into the 2019-20 NBA season as the first time defending champions. This time the team looked a little different. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard left to join the LA Clippers, and Danny Green joined the Lakers. Two key pieces that helped the team’s title run were now gone, but that didn’t stop the Raptors from having success during the regular season.

The Raptors continued their dominance in the Eastern Conference when the season started. With the veteran leadership of point guard Kyle Lowry, Toronto made it known that they wanted to play for another championship. The Raptors still had a majority of their team from last year despite losing Leonard and Green. One player who stepped up in a big way was Pascal Siakam. 

Through 60 games during the regular season, Siakam averaged 22.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Siakam emerged as the go-to player for Toronto and helped the team secure the No. 2 seed.

The Raptors making history in the first round against the Nets

In the first round of the playoffs against the Nets, the Raptors had a team effort in the series win over the Nets. During the four games, the starting lineup and the bench came together and put in impressive performances. The Nets came into the playoffs shorthanded as most players did not make the NBA bubble trip. Toronto used that to their advantage.

Up 3-0 in the series, Toronto looked to close out the Nets. Lowry left with an injury during game four, and Toronto needed to find a way to fill the void and finish the game. They did just that with an impressive performance from the bench who scored an NBA-record 100 points as the Raptors went on to win 150-122. Norman Powell scored 29 points, and Serge Ibaka had 27 points and 15 rebounds. The 150 points were a franchise record for the Raptors. 

Toronto completely dominated the series from the first game. The Nets did not stand a chance against the reigning champions. Nick Nurse has done a tremendous job with the Raptors in coming up with different game plans for the team to be successful. This Raptors team can beat you in multiple ways, and they have one of the best benches in the league.

Don’t sleep on the Toronto Raptors

The Clippers and Lakers have been in conversations regarding the NBA title, and so have the Milwaukee Bucks. But, the Raptors are still the defending champions, and they are playing good basketball right now. With the first-round win over the Nets, the Raptors will play the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This will be a good and competitive series.

Look for the Raptors to control the frontcourt game with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Also, Fred VanVleet has put together impressive performances in the playoffs this year. The Raptors can find themselves playing for another championship this year, and it shouldn’t be a surprise.