NBA Playoffs Game 3 - Toronto Raptors at New Jersey Nets (-4.5, 192) 7:00 ET
The scene shifts to the Meadowlands for Game 3 between Toronto and New Jersey. The Nets were less then 12 minutes away from taking a 2-0 lead in the series when the Raptors shredded the nets for 31 fourth quarter points, seizing the lead by outscoring New Jersey by 11 points and gaining a push as six point favorites.
Next is the pivotal game that might determine which way the series end up playing out. Though Lawrence Frank's club has not lost against the spread, the team's big three have underperformed in the first two games.
Jason Kidd's availability might come into question as he missed Thursday's practice after he hurt himself early in Game 2 while attempting to draw an offensive foul. Coach Frank is acting unconcerned "He just bumped it and we just wanted to take precautions," he said.
Vince Carter took 700 more shots then than anyone else on the team, is converting on just 30 percent of his plethora of attempts, averaging 17.5 points a game compared to the 25 he scored during the regular season. "I liked the shots I was getting, though I think I could have been more aggressive on a lot of plays," Carter said not surprisingly. "I'm trying to utilize everybody and not make stupid plays to hurt us. When guys are open, they know I'll pass it to them.'
Jefferson scored 28 in the opening win, but was held to 13 in the last contest as he continues to run hot and cold. New Jersey is only 9-19 ATS in home games after playing a game as a road underdog.
Toronto fought hard for the last win, giving these playoff newbies a much need shot of confidence. Anthony Parker led the way with 26 clutch points and was delighted, "We definitely turned a corner as a team tonight because we gutted it out, especially when things weren't going well".
What really give the Dinosaurs hope in this series are the younger legs of star Chris Bosh and others. The Nets appeared genuinely fatigued in the last quarter had no extra gear, especially compared to younger opponent.
While Kidd at age 34 still can deal the ball, Toronto is 21-7 ATS versus teams averaging 23 or more assists a game. The Raptors were a strong play all year on the road with 24-17 against the spread and closed the season 5-1 ATS.
sportsbook.com open New Jersey as 4.5-point favorites and the number has held, along with the total at 192.
Both of the playoff games have played Under and 5 of the 6 have also between these Atlantic Division rivals. Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell's team is 12-3 Under in road games off a home win this season.
New Jersey hopes the home court will add to the shooting percentage since they are 14-5 ATS when they make 43% to 47% of their shots in a game this season.
The Nets want to believe history is on their side as Game 1 victors win nearly 75 percent of the time in a seven game series in the NBA postseason.
Discuss this playoff matchup and Friday's card in the NBA basketball betting forum.