National Basketball Association
Raptors-Nets Preview
National Basketball Association

Raptors-Nets Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:48 p.m. ET

The Toronto Raptors will enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference after accomplishing what they set out to do: improve defensively and win a third straight Atlantic Division title.

The Brooklyn Nets' run of three playoff appearances since relocating will end following their worst season since playing in New Jersey.

With nothing left to play for, Toronto concludes the regular season Wednesday night against a Brooklyn team that will finish with one of the worst records in the NBA but won't have its first-round pick in June.

After earning the fourth seed in the East last season, the Raptors were swept by Washington in the first round and allowed the Wizards to average 110.3 points.


Toronto has shut down opponents this season, ranking among the league leaders with 98.2 points allowed per game in going 55-26 to establish a team record for wins for the third straight year.

However, that hasn't led to any postseason success after the Raptors also lost in the opening round to Brooklyn in 2014. Toronto has appeared in the playoffs seven times with its only series win coming in 2001.

The Raptors finished their home slate Tuesday with a 122-98 rout of league-worst Philadelphia behind seven players scoring in double figures. They open the playoffs against Indiana after taking three of four in the season series and seven of the last eight meetings.

"We know what happened and there's definitely a thought, but it's past," point guard Kyle Lowry said of the last two postseason failures. "We've got to worry about the future and continue to grow."

The 76ers are the only team in the East with fewer wins than Brooklyn (21-60), which entered this season hoping it could return to the playoffs despite a less-than-stellar roster.

Deron Williams was bought out in July, five months after the Nets traded Kevin Garnett and a year after they decided to not re-sign Paul Pierce. That left Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson as the go-to players, but Johnson was bought out in February.

The Nets' worst season since going 12-70 in 2009-10 won't result in a high draft pick because they sent their first-round selection - unprotected - to Boston in the deal for Pierce and Garnett in the summer of 2013.

Brooklyn also reassigned general manager Billy King and fired coach Lionel Hollins in January following a 10-27 record. Interim coach Tony Brown has gone 11-33.

"I feel like the situation has been tough from the beginning, I've tried to make the best of it and I'm going to continue to do that ... and whatever happens, happens," Brown said. "I'm not worried about my fate with this organization."

Brooklyn lost its ninth straight Monday, 120-111 to visiting Washington. The Nets, who have reached 60 losses for the fifth time, haven't dropped 10 in a row since an 11-game slide in January 2010.

They've averaged 91.0 points in losing all three meetings with Toronto this season.


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