Saturday, May 5, 2007

Series Wrap-Up: Raptors-Nets

Nets win series 4-2. Apologies to Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets, who looked fantastic in this series. In disposing of the Raptors, the Nets were healthy and confident, and showed no signs of the inconsistency that plagued them during the regular season. The keys to this series were the Nets’ defense, which held the Raptors to just 87.5 points per game in this series, 12 below their season average, as well as Jason Kidd’s virtuoso performance. Kidd was as good as at any time during the Nets’ Finals runs, averaging a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds and 13.2 assists per game). Also, Kidd received help from the other stars in the Nets’ starting lineup, Vince Carter (25ppg, 6rpg, 4.8 apg) and Richard Jefferson (21.5ppg, 48% from the field). The Nets showed the benefits of playoff experience by a) playing with added intensity in their series’ opening win and b) winning all of their home games.

The inexperienced Raptors, who will grow into an Eastern Conferences power, will benefit from this taste of the playoffs. Look for them to win a playoff series next season.

Looking ahead, if the Nets are healthy and playing with this high a level confidence, they are fully capable of knocking off Cleveland and sneaking into the East Finals. Following his Round 1 showing against two good, young point guards (T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon), Jason Kidd is a good bet to torch Daniel Gibson (small, inexperienced and less talented than fellow Texas alum Ford) and Eric Snow (yikes!).

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