Raptors revel in Fred VanVleet’s backcourt shot, Game 3 win over Nets

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After Fred VanVleet rained 3-pointers – including multiple DEEP 3s – on the Nets in Game 1, Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn was asked about defending the Raptors guard like Damian Lillard.

“Historically and analytically, VanFleet [sic] hasn’t made those shots at the clip that he made them at,” Vaughn said. “So, it’s a little different with Lillard, and he’s proven he can do that time and time again from deep range.”

There’s something to playing the odds.

But VanVleet – who has risen from undrafted to near-star – keeps beating the odds. VanVleet sunk a backcourt shot to end the first half today.

Time to at least learn his name.

And remember the Raptors’.

The defending champions beat the Nets 117-92 Game 3 Friday. Toronto now leads the first-round series, 3-0.

All 136 teams that took a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series won it. Up 3-0 for the first time in franchise history, the Raptors will look to eliminate Brooklyn in Game 4 Sunday.

After an ugly Game 2 win, Toronto enjoyed cruising to this victory. So many players contributed.

Pascal Siakam (26 points, eight rebounds and five assists) played his excellent all-around game. VanVleet (22 points on 6-of-10 3-point shooting with with five assists) showed his typical steadiness. Kyle Lowry (11 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals) made his usual subtle mark on the game. Serge Ibaka (20 points and 13 rebounds) brought his productivity off the bench.

Without Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors might not have the same upside as last season. But they have found a winning formula and repeatedly execute it.

Especially against the decimated Nets.

Tyler Johnson (23 points on 5-of-9 3-point shooting) got hot. But Brooklyn couldn’t get much going. Too often overlooked, Jarrett Allen didn’t even attempt a single shot. He’s a play finisher at the rim, so his lack of offensive involvement reveals bigger problems.