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Raptors start title defense with dominant win over Nets in Game 1

The Raptors came out and never really faltered against Brooklyn, cruising to a 134-110 victory inside the NBA bubble.

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors talks with Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors come into this postseason as the No. 2 seed in the East, facing off against the No. 7 seed Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference first round. The Raptors begin their title defense without Kawhi Leonard, but will a strong outlook for the playoffs. The Nets won’t be contending this time around, but can build off a strong showing in the seeding round. Here we’ll be providing live updates throughout the game, but first let’s take a look at the lines on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Final update — Toronto pulled away down the stretch to claim a 134-110 victory. Seven of their players scored in double figures and VanVleet led the way with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 60 DKFP. LeVert was the second most productive player from a fantasy perspective and tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds, 15 assists, and 47.25 DKFP. The defending champs had too many ways to score.

6:02 p.m. — Would the Raptors be the Raptors if they didn’t have such interesting Game 1s in the playoffs? I don’t think so. Jarrett Allen banked a shot from the elbow in to bring the Nets within 9 points of the Raptors heading into the fourth quarter. We could be in for a fun finish here.

5:52 p.m — Brooklyn trailed by as many as 33 points before it cut Toronto’s lead to 9 points. LeVert has dished out 13 dimes on a slow scoring night while Luwawu-Cabarrot has racked up 19 points in 22 minutes off the bench. The Nets might actually make this a game if they keep playing like this.

5:42 p.m. — LeVert has a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds but can’t keep up with the Raptors’ team ball. Fred VanVleet has 22 points and 9 assists on 8-of-10 shooting to lead Toronto’s well-balanced scoring attack.

Halftime update — The Raptors are up 73-51 at the break and have five players with at least 10 points. Fred VanVleet has surged forward with game-highs in points (16) and assists (8). He’s tallied 33.25 DKFP at the half. LeVert has 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Nets guard has gotten help from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s 15 points in 13 minutes.

4:55 p.m. — Toronto’s lead has ballooned to 26 points midway through the second quarter. Kyle Lowry is taking over with his hot shooting and has a game-high 14 points in 14 minutes. It looks like the starters for the reigning champs might not play much in Game 1 if Brooklyn doesn’t get back into the game.

4:44 p.m. — The Raptors are out to 17-point lead after the first frame. LeVert has managed to sink a bucket to go with his six assists, but things are getting out of hand. Siakam is already flirting with a double-double after one quarter with 10 points and 7 rebounds. He leads all players in points and rebounds so far.

4:34 p.m. — The Raptors are digging in against Caris LeVert and are making it clear that he can’t beat them alone. LeVert is 0-for-6 from the floor but has tallied six assists in the first quarter so far. Pascal Siakam is getting to work early and has racked up 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Raptors vs. Nets closing lines

Raptors (-10)
Over/Under: 222
Moneyline: BKN (+390), TOR (-500)

This seems like a trap game for the Raptors. A lot of people are mentioning how they came out flat in Game 1 last playoffs against the Orlando Magic. I can see a similar scenario in which the Nets give them a game in this one and it’s close. The spread I’d be looking at the Nets getting the points. The moneyline doesn’t offer much value. The O/U should go Over unless the Raptors clamp down defensively in the postseason. It’s a possibility, but the NBA bubble has seen high scoring overall. Plus, the Nets don’t play defense and play at a high pace.