The third star of the game today was Serge Ibaka. Serge was excellent tonight and clearly did not fear anyone on the court. When Serge is that confident, he is a dangerous player. Twenty six points off the bench, which are crucial because the Raptors are going to be looking for a scoring punch in the second unit. He was over 50% from the floor, 50% from three and hit his free throws and his percentages would likely have been higher if he didn’t force a few shots up. Seven rebound is strong off the bench but against this Nets team he could have more. Although when your team scores 134 points, there are not a lot of rebounds to get. All around a solid game from Serge!
The second star of the game today was Kyle Lowry. Kyle was absolutely fantastic tonight! There was point in the second quarter where it looked like Kyle could have taken the Nets 1 on 5. He was a menace in every sense of the word! Kyle is the heartbeat of this team. His teammates follow his lead when it comes to intensity and he brought the intensity tonight. Kyle took three offensive fouls in the first half and somehow they all come at the perfect time. Right when the other team builds momentum, there’s Kyle lying on his back looking at the ref point towards the other teams basket. Sixteen points, seven rebound, six assists are decent splits, but his contributions came early when it became crystal clear that no one on the Nets could match is intensity. He had the best +/- tonight by a good margin.
FRED VAN VLEET
On any other night Kyle’s performance would have been more than enough to be the first star of the game. Not tonight. Fred was incredible on both ends of the floor. When other players were hot, he laid back and when the Nets went on their run he stepped up. Fred was 8 for 10 from beyond the arc, 8 FOR 10!! Eighty percent from 3 is insane. Overall he had 30 points, 11 assists and 2 steals, those numbers are worthy of the Finals MVP vote he got last year. There is not much more I can say about Fred, when he gets hot is one of the most lethal players in the NBA and he does it all with a stone cold look in his eyes.