The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors are on to the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs. They put together a dominant performance on Sunday evening, cruising to a 150-122 win over the Brooklyn Nets, completing a four-game sweep of the teams' first-round series.
Toronto's performance was as close to perfect as you can get in a playoff game. They set a franchise record for points in a playoff game, shot 55.4 percent from the field and scored 100 bench points. The only downside for the Raptors was Kyle Lowry's injury. He rolled his ankle and left the arena to undergo imaging. With Boston waiting in the second round, they'll be hoping it's nothing serious.
This is the end of the road for the Nets, who it must be said deserve credit for how they competed in Orlando. Most of these players were brought in last-minute as replacements, with no guarantee of a roster spot next season. And though they crashed out of the playoffs in the first round, they fought hard every game, and in general, did better than everyone was expecting.
Here are three key takeaways from the game:
1. Franchise firsts
The Raptors haven't been around all that long, joining the league for the 1995-96 season. And while they're the defending champs, they don't exactly have a storied history. The won just one playoff series in their first 20 seasons, and it's only in recent years that they've become a postseason staple.
As a result, there are still plenty of firsts for them to accomplish, and they set a bunch of new marks on Sunday. Most notably, their dominant Game 4 win over the Nets completed their first sweep in franchise history. The 150 points they scored in the process were the most in postseason franchise history, and their 100 bench points set a new NBA playoff record.
Not a bad way to advance to the second round.
2. Lowry's ankle
The Raptors should be celebrating their sweep tonight but, instead, they'll be waiting with bated breath on the status of Kyle Lowry. Their veteran point guard rolled his ankle late in the first quarter after getting tangled up with Chris Chiozza on the fastbreak and immediately left the game.
He didn't return, going instead to get imaging done. It's way too early to do any sort of speculation, as we don't know the results of those scans, nor even when the second round will begin. But the Raptors will need Lowry at full strength for what should be an extremely tough series against the Celtics.
3. Shout out to the Nets
No one wants to get swept in the playoffs, certainly not while losing Game 4 by 28 points. That's not exactly a fun way to end a season. But once the Nets get over the initial sting, they should be proud of what they did in the bubble.
No one gave this group any hope, as they arrived in Orlando without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler nor Nic Claxton. Even Michael Beasley, who was supposed to be a replacement player, had to leave, and so did Joe Harris late in this series.
But with nothing to lose, this bunch of players, many of whom casual fans had not likely ever heard of before, played extremely hard the entire way for interim coach Jacque Vaughn. They went 5-3 in the seeding games, and along the way secured the biggest upset win in nearly 30 years when they beat the Bucks. Yes, they eventually crashed hard, but guys like Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were some of the most entertaining players at Disney.
So long to the Bubble Nets, you won't be forgotten.