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Pro Basketball Playoff Odds — Nets Can’t Afford to Fade Against Raptors in Game 5

For a team that has a veteran lineup, the Brooklyn Nets aren’t doing very well when it comes to closing out games. It could be argued by pro basketball playoff bettors that they have had a tremendous opportunity to win all four games in the series that they are playing against the Toronto Raptors, but when it comes to crunch time, they just haven’t had their act together.

As we venture into Game at 5 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto (7:35 PM ET), point guard Deron Williams knows that he does not wan to go back to Brooklyn at a 3-2 deficit. “We have to steal one,” he told reporters at Tuesday’s practice.

He is absolutely right, in a sense, because Toronto went into the Barclays Center in a situation where they had their back to the wall and prevented the Nets from going up 3-1 in the series with an 87-79 victory, exhibiting a lot more in the way of ball control than they had done previously.

And Toronto has been a dangerous road squad, registering a record of 27-15-1 against the NBA lines as the visitor, so Brooklyn feels a definite sense of urgency coming into this contest, knowing that there are no “automatics” once they get back to their building.

In the pro basketball playoff odds that have been posted on this game at Bookmaker, the Raptors are laying points at home:

Toronto Raptors -3.5
Brooklyn Nets +3.5

Over 191 points -110
Under 191 points -110

Kevin Garnett is most definitely taking Toronto seriously; he also acknowledges that “we’ve got to figure out ways to close better in the second half.” That message needs to get to his fellow former Celtic, Paul Pierce, who was just dandy in the first game of this series but has gone to Brick City in the fourth quarter in each of the last three games. Pierce is shooting an ungodly 33% from the field from games 2-4 in the final 12 minutes, and some critics have chalked that up to a possible dose of overconfidence on his part. Williams has not been immune to criticism either, and that has been a great contributor to this team being outscored by 22 points in the fourth quarter over the last three games. He had only ten points overall in Sunday’s appearance, where Brooklyn failed to cover as a four-point favorite in the pro basketball playoff odds.

Bookmaker customers also noticed something else that was very important in terms of Toronto’s ability to draw even in this series. They simply took care of the ball a lot better. Over the first three games they seemed to have butterfingers, coughing the ball up 54 times, but in Game 4, they only committed ten turnovers. That game was slow as molasses, producing only 143 shot attempts, and when you play in a half-court game like that, it helps if you can hit three-pointers with at least some degree of consistency.

Neither team has really been explosive from beyond the arc, but Brooklyn probably expected to be better than 25%. and it is not as if they haven’t gotten good looks at the hoop. With the small lineup that has caused some matchup advantages for them here and there, the Nets may want to pick up the pace a little more and attack the basket.

The Nets, after going on a 15-game home winning streak, have now lost three of their last five at the Barclays Center. But they have been far from a proficient team on the road, going 16-26 straight-up and 18-23-1 against the NBA betting lines. In other words, this does not set up to be the best possible situation for them – especially if they can’t put their closer’s hat on.
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