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.
- Nets at Raptors boxscore - NBA.com
- NBA Playoffs Game One Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors, 12:30 PM - NetsDaily
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets at Raptors - NetsDaily
- Nets vs. Raptors: First half (Video) - NBA.com
- Lowry to Valanciunas (Video) - NBA.com
- Williams' Hoop and Harm (Video) - NBA.com
- Pierce Scoops and Hits (Video) - NBA.com
- Toronto Newspaper Rips Pierce, KG (Video) - ESPN
- Man With Stopwatch Replaces Broken Shot Clock (Video) - ESPN
- Veteran Experience Key For Nets (Video) - ESPN
- Pierce, Nets Top Raptors In Opener (Video) - ESPN
- Raptors GM Yells Expletive (Video) - ESPN
- HIGHLIGHTS: Paul Pierce Comes Up Huge In 4th For Nets, Roars: "This is why I'm here!" - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets Post Game Plus: Nets win Game 1 (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Tyler Hansbrough on playing Kevin Garnett (Video) - Matthew Stucko - YES Network
- Livingston discusses the energy in Game 1 (Video) - YES Network
- Kidd on winning Game 1 of opening series (Video) - YES Network
- Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87 - Ian Harrison - AP
- Nets’ experience takes home-court advantage from Raptors - John Schuhmann - NBA.com
- Nets Get Last Word in Series Opener Against the Raptors - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Paul Pierce buries the Raptors with late surge as Nets take Game 1 - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri apologizes for shouting ‘F--- Brooklyn’ at pep rally - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- SEE IT: Toronto Raptors GM pumps up crowd at fan rally by yelling 'F--- BROOKLYN!' (GRAPHIC LANGUAGE) - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Toronto Sun pokes fun at aging Nets roster with RAPTORS VS. DINOSAURS back page - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets beat Raptors in Game 1 of first-round playoff series - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Malfunction makes Game 1 shot clock become human - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Masai Ujiri, Raptors GM, apologizes for cussing out Brooklyn Nets at rally - Neil Best - Newsday
- Paul Pierce enjoys showing Raptors why Nets brought him in - Neil Best - Newsday
- Nets rally to top Raptors in Game 1 - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Raptors GM apologizes for ‘F—k Brooklyn’ rant - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Three thoughts on the Nets victory over the Raptors - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Brooklyn proves wily — not frail — and Toronto just young - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Raptors All-Star DeRozan a no-show in playoff debut - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Nets’ ‘Dinosaurs’ do exactly what they were ‘brought’ here to do - Mike Vaccaro
- Nets beat Raptors 94-87 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets notes: Human shot clock - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- NBA Playoffs 2014: Nets 'dinosaur' Paul Pierce sticks it to Raptors in Game 1 - Kevin Manahan - Star-Ledger
- Raptors back GM on Nets comment: 'If he said, '[Bleep] 'em, I'll say, '[Bleep] 'em!' - Kevin Manahan - Star-Ledger
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 94, Raptors 87 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN
- Jason Kidd: Deron Williams 'set the tone' in Game 1 for Brooklyn Nets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- 2014 NBA Playoffs: Raptors enter playoffs cursing, losing - James Herbert - ESPN
- Notebook: Shot-clock madness - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- Old man Pierce delivers playoff daggers - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- NBA playoffs 2014, Nets vs. Raptors final score: Brooklyn takes early series lead with 94-87 win - Ethan Rothstein - SB Nation
- GAME 1, BROOKLYN. Nets 94, Raptors 87 (GAME GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- RECAP: Nets 94, Raptors 87 In Game 1 Playoffs -- Raps GM: "F Brooklyn" - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Andrei Kirilenko’s wife wonders why her husband was a DNP-CD, Kidd explains in postgame - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Game Recap: #Nets 94 — #Raptors 87 - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Tension grows in big Nets' win - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- NBA playoffs: Postseason live blog, filled with scores, highlights and observations - DeAnte Prince - Sporting News
- Paul Pierce lifts Nets in 4th to top Raptors in Game 1 - Jeff Zillgitt - USA Today
- Shot clock problem forces PA countdowns and air horn at Raptors-Nets Game - Eric Freeman - Yahoo Sports
- The End Of Rap Beef: "Jay-Z Is Somewhere Eating A Fondue Plate" - Deadspin
- NBA Playoffs According to Drake Lyrics: Raptors Bodied by Nets - Brian Josephs - Complex
- Paul Pierce's Clutch Shooting Leads Brooklyn Nets To Game 1 Win Over Toronto Raptors - Jonah Mars - From Russia With Dunk
- Raptors fall to Nets in Game 1 - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors, ACC scramble after shot clock meltdown in Game 1 - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors’ playoff jitters predictable but can be overcome - Dave Feschuk - Toronto Star
- Raptors’ Northern Uprising on full display in Maple Leaf Square - Gemma Karstens-Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors lose NBA playoff opener against Nets - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- Nets' Paul Pierce steps up late in Game 1 win over Raptors - Frank Zicarelli - Toronto Sun
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri could be fined for F-bomb on Nets - Steve Simmons - Toronto Sun
- Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas makes big impact in Game 1 loss to Nets - Ryan Wolstat - Toronto Sun
- Raptors GM sorry for profane Nets taunt, Game 1 shot clock shuts down - CP
- Toronto Raptors’ lack of playoff experience shows in Game 1 loss to Brooklyn Nets - Eric Koreen - National Post
- ‘F— Brooklyn’ just another part of Raptors ‘We The North’ rebrand - Eric Koreen - National Post
- Raptors vs. Nets: Ujiri’s f-bomb, the clock outage and other takeaways from Toronto’s playoff opener - Eric Koreen - National Post
- ‘There were good days and bad with J-Kidd’: Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey reflects on history with Brooklyn Nets counterpart - Eric Koreen - National Post