Raptors lose to Nets at start of seven-game series
The Raptors lost to the Nets on Saturday afternoon in the first playoff game for the team, despite a final quarter rally that brought Toronto to within a few points of New Jersey.
The final score was 96-91 for the Nets. It was the first game in a best-of-seven series between the Raptors and the Nets.
At half-time the Raptors were trailing by 10 points. The gap widened slightly by the end of the third quarter with a score of 78-65 in favour of the Nets.
A fourth-quarter rally saw Toronto come within three points of catching New Jersey, only to let it slip and end the game trailing by five points.
The Nets dominated the game, shooting 42 per cent compared to Toronto's 41. New Jersey outrebounded Toronto 46 - 42 and outscored the Raptors 46 - 22 inside the paint.
Saturday's game marked the first time in franchise history that Toronto had home-court after winning the Atlantic Division title. It was their first playoff appearance in five seasons.
Inside the Air Canada Centre, the atmosphere among Raptors fans was electric, helped in no small part by the presence of team nemesis Vince Carter. The capacity crowd of 19,800 broke into spontaneous chants of "V-C Sucks" while others brought signs or wore anti-Carter shirts.
Most observers pegged the Raptors as underdogs heading into the game. Before the game, those predictions did not seem to bother the team.
"Many people didn't expect us to win this season," Chris Bosh told The Canadian Press. "We believed in ourselves, so this isn't anything new."
Bosh said optimism is what got the team through and will carry them in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-finals.
''If I had come to everybody and said, `We were going to make the playoffs and have homecourt at the beginning of the year,' I don't think many people would have believed me outside of this team,'' Bosh said. ''It's the same thing now. We expect to advance and we're going to play like we want to.
The two teams will meet again Tuesday evening in Toronto. Then the series moves to New Jersey for the third and fourth games in the matchup.
With files from The Canadian Press