Cursed No More


Toronto Raptors Erase Game 1 Demons, Blow Out Brooklyn Nets

It got slightly dicy at one point.

Look, don’t lie to me.

When a comfy 33-point lead slowly dwindled down to just nine with one quarter remaining, Toronto Raptor fans were preparing for the absolutely worse. You were worried. You have been psychologically programmed to worry given the Raptors Game 1 history.

How will this team blow another Game 1? Is DJ Augustin about to check in?

Well, this Raptors team said no mas.

As the fourth quarter began, the defending NBA champions turned things up a couple of notches and went back to what clearly worked not only in the first 20 minutes of the game, but for the entirety of this NBA season. The Raptors put the clamps back on and blew out the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 134-110, outscoring Brooklyn by 15 points in the final frame.

“We didn’t really get that playoff atmosphere in terms of (a crowd), but I thought we hyped ourselves up,” said Fred VanVleet, who led the Raptors with a playoff career-high 30 points. “I thought this is the most locked in we’ve been all year. It felt like guys were amped up and energized. Having won one (the title), it kind of puts you at a peace throughout the year, and now it’s time to kick it into gear.

“I loved our energy, our attentiveness and focus. That’s all you can ask for. We can’t duplicate 20,000 of the best fans in the world.”

The Raptors had yet another one of those balanced attack games en route to setting a new franchise record for points in a playoff game. Seven Raptors finished the afternoon in double figures. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam poured in 22 and 18 points respective, while Kyle Lowry was on triple-double watch, putting together a 16 point, seven rebound and six assist night. Meanwhile the trio of Marc Gasol, OG Anunoby, and Terence Davis finished the game with a combined 36 points.

“Everything was rolling, right?” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “It’s an NBA game (against) a team that’s been playing extremely well, you know they’re going to make their run a little bit. I was certainly happy to see us answer back once we kind of regrouped.”

The Nets refused to go down easily, but ultimately the champs proved to be too much for this young and unproven Brooklyn team.

“They are champions and have played on a big stage before. Seems like they were trying to deliver an early message to the group, but I did like the way our group responded after halftime and accepted that first punch from Toronto. The rounds will continue,” said Nets coach Jacque Vaughn.

The Raptors now take a 1-0 series lead and will look to continue to apply the pressure on their opponents on Wednesday afternoon in Game 2.


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