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Nets defense smothers Raptors, gets Brooklyn Game 1 win on road

Apr 19, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) battles under the hoop with Brooklyn Nets centre Kevin Garnett (2) but they couldn't get it done as the Nets won 94-87 Getty Images

The game slows down in the playoffs, to win you have to execute in the half court.

Brooklyn’s halfcourt defense doubled and smothered Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, it took away passing lanes, and with that the Raptors halfcourt offense became a stagnant swamp. Toronto shot 39.4 percent as a team and had an offensive rating of just 93.5 points per 100 possessions in their first playoff game in years.

The Nets, on the other hand, played like veterans who comfortably moved the ball, found the open man, attacked mismatches, and hit the key shots late — particularly Paul Pierce, who struggled for three quarters and had 9 points when it mattered in the fourth.

With that the Nets picked up a 94-87 win in Game 1.

That puts the Nets up 1-0 with a well-earned road win — they are now in command of this series. When road teams wins the first playoff game in a series they go on to win the series 56 percent of the time. More than that, the Nets shot 4-of-24 from three, (16.7 percent) when on the season they shot 36.9 percent from deep.

Which is to say, this game was a lot closer than it probably should have been. The Nets were clearly the better team Saturday.

Toronto came out fired up — their GM was feeding that crowd before the game — and fed Jonas Valanciunas early, trying to make the Nets pay for their small ball lineup (he finished with 17 points on 13 shots, plus 18 rebounds). It worked, and the Raptors were up 11-7.

Then the Nets went on a 12-0 run doing what they did all game. On offense they went after the mismatches — Joe Johnson was covered John Salmons early and the Nets went at it. Johnson had 8 of his 24 in the first quarter, for the game he hit 8-of-13 shooting.

Deron Williams also had 24 points, on 8-of-20 shooting. The Nets offense wasn’t brilliant in this game, but it was good enough because of their defense.

The Toronto starting five, in the 13 minutes on the court together, shot just 23.5 percent. More than that, the Raptors turned the ball over on 20.4 percent of their possessions in the game (17 total).

Brooklyn has a long defensive team that is smart about passing lanes and recovery, and Toronto kept playing into their hands with attacks that were in isolation in the half court, or just a drive off the pick, and each time Lowry and DeRozan found themselves doubled and without good options. Lowry was 7-of-18, DeRozan 3-of-13 on the night.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also struggled early, but with the game on the one late both had key buckets — PP had nine points in the fourth going at a mismatch.

Toronto got points when they ran off a miss or turnover and attack, expect them to try and do more of that in Game 2. But they are going to have to find some better ball movement and way to create buckets in the half court.

Or this return to the playoffs that has energized Toronto will not last long.

  1. jbeagles23 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    That was a game of nerves for the raptors. They’ll still take this in seven

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      lol you don’t care much about reality huh? I want toronto to win too but I seriously doubt that will happen

      • av416 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        That was one of the poorest games the Raptors have played in a long while. The fact that Demar and TRoss did essentially nothing, and somehow the refs didn’t call one single foul on BKN all 4th q, makes me feel pretty good about the Raptors chances moving forward. Sidenote– If BKN wants to keep this up it’s time for old man KG to give up some minutes to Plumlee. JV absolutely owned KG today, and I can’t see it stopping

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        The flip side to that is the Nets missed 14 3’s in a row or something like that and still won

      • av416 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        @bigmeechy I can see that line of thinking, however JJ and DWil got them 24 a piece where as 2 of the raptors 3 best scorers combined for 4-17 for 17 pts and 1-8 from three. I can’t recall a game that was this close for the Raptors when Terrence Ross and Demar were totally neutralized.

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        I hope you are right. I put a little wager on toronto to win the series plus I really like them

    • Kevin S. - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      They couldn’t beat the Nets when they shot 17% from behind the arc. You sure those shots keep clanging?

  2. money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Paul pierce’s play down the stretch got me so hype. That guy is super down the stretch. He loves tight games. And his demeanor when knocking down tough shots makes me want to go out and play basketball. Paul pierce will be the reason the nets win the series.

    Shoutout to Jonas Val-so-een-o-wausauce. He was huge on the boards. And was active around the rim. He needs to keep up the energy for the raptors to have a chance at advancing.

    Ps-

    I copied n pasted this from an earlier article :
    Now since bk won game one on the road, can someone explain what it means when they say the nets have stolen home court advantage… I’ve heard it for years but never investigated into the meaning of this

    • phaden27 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      It means they have an advantage being one game up when they go back home. So if thy win game to they could technically end the series on the home floor. Or, if they lose game two, they still have the advantage of going up two more games at home.

      • money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Thanks !

    • basketballhooper1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Well what it basically means is that since the Nets won a game on the road, all they have to do is defend home court (since winning at home is easier than playing on the road) and then they’ll win the series.

      So if Brooklyn does that now, they should win 4-2 (if they don’t win any more on the road and win all games at home)

  3. money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    Why did my post get blocked. When that happens it makes me want to stay far away from this site

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      i have no idea what you’ve posted and it ticks me off too… many of mine have been blocked. In a 2010 Supreme Court decision the Chief Justice talks about freedom of speech and how even hurtful speech needs to be protected. It was a great majority opinion that he wrote and free speech is paramount…

      yet there are so many folks on these sites whose skin are so thin that when you simply disagree with them, they report your comments…

      it’s sad and makes me fear for the future as we continually have our rights erode out from underneath us…

      people don’t even realize that THEY are part of the problem, causing this to happen…

      they’ll gripe after something they like and want is gone and have no clue they perpetuated the means that caused what they liked to be taken away…

      what’s worse, about 10% on here will understand what I just wrote…

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        Freedom of Speech applies to the government. Private companies can censor however they’d like.

      • adamsjohn714 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        It probably got blocked because he didn’t have enough money. Money = speech.

      • money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Badum Tss !

      • turnmymicup - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        We live in the greatest country but Americans are so spoiled. Myself included. Just because you have the freedom to say something doesn’t mean it should be said. Administrators have to censor people because they don’t censor themselves.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        Amen, bros.

  4. jbeagles23 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    It means they’re up 1 0 so if they win their 3 home games they win the series. The raps need to win one in Brooklyn to get it back. It’s impossible for the raptors to win the series without winning in Brooklyn as it was impossible for Brooklyn before game one

    • turnmymicup - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      Well put Sir.

    • money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Nice!

  5. sportsfan18 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    So… having a 56% chance at winning the series means they are now in “command” of the series…

    “That puts the Nets up 1-0 with a well-earned road win — they are now in command of this series. When road teams wins the first playoff game in a series they go on to win the series 56 percent of the time.”

    • 6thsense10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Well winning on the road and having a 56% chance of winning the series would seem to indicate NY is in control to me.

  6. turnmymicup - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Series just started but its already over. This Toronto team isn’t built to battle with Brooklyn. Raptors should call Drake for help.

    • adamsjohn714 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      Drake is now a Nets fan.

      • turnmymicup - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Lol

      • basketballhooper1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        @adamsjohn714

        You just won the internet sir

  7. pharohislife - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    I See Teams still “Can’t Handle The TRUTH!!!

  8. craigmaitland - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Aggressive Man to man D against a younger more athletic team… And ZERO foul calls in the 4th Q against them? Come on….. Unless they played the most perfect quarter of basketball in NBA history the fix was in. It’s hard to get behind a sport sometimes when it’s so blatant.

    • 6thsense10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      Every season it’s the same thing. The losers whinning about the officials. Every. single. year. How about you guys start off your whine by placing the blame where it belongs……on the team. No one wants to ever accept responsibility for their short comings and for people like that they will never improve…..because why should they look at themselves for improvement? Obviously the only thing that needs changing is the behavior of the refs.

  9. nedterziev - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Raptors are done, I dnt know how any one ever thought they had a chance. Game 2 is going to bk and maybe Toronto will take one in bk.

  10. canadatude - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    The fix was in, Craigmaitland. Silver was in attendance and if he doesn’t deal with the one-sided ref calls, he should resign.
    The truth takes 10 steps on a lay-up, Garnett camps in the key for 8 seconds and grabs/hacks all game with no calls?
    Their big men are so tough, going after little Lowrie! Cowards.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      The Raptors did not lose because of the refs, they lost because their half court offense was pathetic. It’s the playoffs, games get more physical, adjust or go home.

  11. cantonbound13 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Go Brooklyn!

  12. ranfan12 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH

  13. ranfan12 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    The Truth shall set you free!

  14. savvybynature - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Bet Masai is really screaming ‘F- Brooklyn!’ now, while wondering why he didn’t just trade Lowry and tank like he’d planned to all along, haha.
    That’s why it’s not wise to disrespect your opponent, especially when they are HoFers.

    • borderline1988 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      It was just one game, the series has barely started.

      There were a lot of positives to take for this young Raptors team. They shot horribly, and still made a good game out of it. They beat the Nets on the glass and on the break.
      Mainly the Raps lost because they had 10 more turnovers than the Nets, which resulted in the Nets getting 9 more shots than the Raptors did.

      Just need to limit the turnovers and make better decisions from their wingmen/guards. Keep battling, especially in the post. The Nets will wear thin eventually…the Garnett/Pierce act won’t last forever.

  15. Eutaw's Finest - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Oh yea mean that 3 game slide at the end of the season wasn’t indicative of how Brooklyn plays? You mean that they are better than their seeding? MAYBE it has to do with the fact that they were afraid to play the Bulls and tanked their final 3 intentionally. So sad.

  16. canadatude - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    The NBA is looking at a new play-off seeding system where Over-all ranking is used. Brooklyn would get OKC since they had the 2nd worst playoff record (Phoenix in).
    Just that far from being a lottery team and people still think they are going anywhere? Nets are not playing to win, but trying not to lose.

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