The Toronto Raptors might be the most insecure 3-seed in NBA playoff history. Why? Because no one seems to give them credit – in their eyes, anyway.
“Toronto, they’re kind of like the really good-looking woman who doesn’t know she’s good-looking and she goes out with jerks because she has no self-esteem, you know what I mean?” Nets play-by-play radio announcer Chris Carrino said on Ferrall on the Bench. “It’s a great team, it’s a great city, but they got this us-against-the-world mentality all the time. And now they feel like they have to play it up because that’s the way they’re going to change their image and that’s the way they’re going to get people to notice them. I don’t know. Just keep being a great city. Just keep playing hard and being a good team.
“All year they won,” Carrino continued. “They got the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They were very respectable. Everybody thought this was going to be a lost year for Toronto. Stop whining, stop complaining, stop making it us-against-the-world and tying to tell people off to make you look tough. You’ve got talent. Go out there, play the game and don’t worry about it.”
The series, which is tied 1-1, resumes Friday in Brooklyn. The Nets won Game 1, 94-87, before losing Game 2, 100-95. DeMar DeRozan torched Brooklyn for 30 points in Game 2 – 12 coming from the foul line – while Lowry finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
“I had DeRozan and Lowry on my third-team All-NBA this year,” Carrino said, underscoring their talent. “I haven’t seen a guy give as many problems to the Nets the last two years as Kyle Lowry. He’s a beast. He’s a bulldog. And DeRozan is fourth-best in the NBA at getting to the free throw line.”
Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, meanwhile, were dreadful in Game 2, combining for 22 points on 7-of-26 shooting (26.9 percent).
Still, there were rumors that Brooklyn tanked toward the end of the regular season to ensure a first-round series with the Raptors. Carrino isn’t buying that.
“They couldn’t orchestrate that because even going into the last day, you didn’t know who was going to be 3 or 4, so you couldn’t plan on facing one team or the other,” he said. “Once they realized they weren’t going to get home court, they really just sort of stuck to their schedule of rest and getting guys ready for the postseason. Everybody thought it was disrespect to Toronto that they may have wanted to face Toronto over Chicago, but really, it was like, well, you got a choice: I can punch you with my left hand or my right hand. You’re still going to get hit and it’s going to hurt.”
Indeed, Brooklyn was weary of Chicago’s effort and weary of Toronto’s talent. Neither first-round series would be easy.
“They have the greatest amount of respect for Toronto,” Carrino said of the Nets. “It’s been a good series so far.”