Nets steal Game One in Toronto! Final Score: Nets 94, Raptors 87

Claus Andersen

The Nets began this best of seven series, Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors. The Nets won 94-87, in a tightly contested battle the entire way.

Hello, playoffs! The regular season is in the books and the Nets are ready to start their expedition to a championship for the second straight year. Through all the agony and doubt in the early season due to poor play, to the rejuvenation of this Nets team in the year 2014, we've finally made it to game one of the NBA playoffs. Who better to play in the first round, than the Atlantic Division-champions, Toronto Raptors.

The Nets began this best of seven series, Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors, winning 94-87, in a tightly contested battle the entire way. The game was tied in the fourth quarter, but on the backs of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and some big shots from Paul Pierce, the Nets notched a huge road victory.

There was no doubt coming into this game that the energy would be at an all-time high at the Air Canada Centre. The Toronto fans were letting their voices be heard after every call against their team and popped ear drums when their team did something worthy of praise.

The Nets played tough defense to start the game. You can tell the Raptors composure was in question when they exceeded the foul limit just five minutes into the quarter. But, Jonas Valanciunas lifted the team and scored their first eight points, giving them the boost they needed to break the ice.

The Raptors owned a 11-7 scoring edge to get started, but the Nets answered with an 18-2 run following a Jason Kidd timeout. The Nets offensive plan was simply to get Joe Johnson the mismatch he needed to post-up down low. With the Raptors defense eyeing Johnson, it opened up shots for Deron Williams, who finished with 11 points on the quarter.

Late in the quarter, Kyle Lowry started to catch fire. He matched Williams' offensive outburst with 11 points of his own, leading the way for Toronto.

The Nets owned a 29-21 lead after the first quarter of play.

The second quarter got off to a bad start for the Nets. They owned an eight point lead, but the second unit failed to buckle down defensively. They comitted four fouls in just three minutes, and the Raptors had an easy pass to the free throw line for the rest of the quarter.

The game continued to intensify as the Raptors tied up the game at 35, behind a 14-6 run. The Nets starters were subbed back into the game and things continued to heat up. After a few "scuffles" Kevin Garnett & Andray Blatche were penalized with technical fouls, but none for the Raptor players. The Raptors scored 25 points in the quarter, but 15 of them were at the line.

For Brooklyn, Williams continued to lead the charge. He finished with 18 points on 7-17 shooting. The Nets as a team shot 3-15 from the three point line. Kyle Lowry was also playing at a high level. He led all Raptors' scorers with 15 points. Demar DeRozan was held to just four points on 0-5 shooting.

Score at the half: Nets 50, Raptors 46.

Quick Reminder: Andrei Kirilenko didn't receive any playing time in the first half. Kirilenko averaged 19 minutes per game in the regular season.

The third quarter continued at a consistent rate. Both teams were going back and forth, exchanging buckets with neither team able to break free. A little under six minutes, there was a shot clock malfunction, and after a 10 minute break, nothing was fixed. The PA announcer had to call out the time remaining on the clock. It was a very strange game.

It was a very strange game for Brooklyn's offensive execution as well. They play a 'small ball' style, but they were 3-19 from three point -- even stranger, through three quarters, they owned a 32-18 scoring advantage in the paint.

A big negative for Brooklyn: foul trouble. Shaun Livingston had four fouls and Mason Plumlee had five in the third quarter. Both were taken out earlier than usual. In place of Livingston, Alan Anderson provided great energy for Brooklyn.

The Nets barely outscored the Raptors in the quarter,17-16, proving to be a defensive-minded third quarter. The score was 67-62 heading to the fourth. Late in the third with the shot clock expiring, the Nets failed to get up a shot. The Raptors had possession with a few seconds left, which ended up with a Kyle Lowry three pointer as time expired. The bucket shifted the entire momentum Toronto's way.

Greivis Vasquez was killing the Nets. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter, most notably, a three pointer with five minutes remaining to give the Raptors the lead.

The Raptors led 76-75, but Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, then Paul Pierce answered with field goals of their own, giving the Nets a 7-0 run and a six point lead with three minutes remaining. The three from Pierce was just the fourth three the Nets converted on in 24 tries. They had missed 19 straight threes prior to that shot.

The Nets were up five with 1:30 remaining and just two seconds left on the shot clock. Paul Pierce aka, "the Truth", knocked down two consecutive jump shots, eventually giving the Nets a seven point lead with 50 seconds remaining. Big time shots from a big time player.

The Nets were up five with 35 seconds. All they had to do was hit their free throws, and this game would be over. Free throws they needed, free throws they hit. The Nets came into Toronto hoping to steal one on the road, and they did so.

Final score: Nets 94, Raptors 87.

Series count: Nets 1 , Raptors 0.

Deron Williams had a great game, scoring 24 points on 8-20 shooting. He had just three assists, but it was a positive sign to see him agressive with the ball. Joe Johnson also had a stellar night with 24 points in 44 minutes, followed by 15 points from Paul Pierce, and 10 points from Shaun Livingston.

The Nets shot just 4-24 from three point land and the bench combined for just 16 points. They were reluctant to escape this game with a victory.

The Nets and Raptors will play game two this Tuesday in Toronto.

For more on the Toronto Raptors, check them out at Raptors HQ.

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