The Nets have put themselves in a tough position. Not once, but twice, they had a chance to steal one from the Raptors and seize control of the series but failed to grab a victory. Brooklyn had a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter in Game Two and led by six with six minutes remaining on Sunday in Game Four. They failed to win both games, and now the Raptors are the favorites once again to move on.
Here we are, though, as the Nets have lost home court advantage and have yet, really, to put together a complete ball game. They are shooting 25 percent from the three-point line, and have been out-rebounded by an average nine boards through the first four games. While they could have been up 3-1 in the series, at the same time you can say the Nets are lucky to even be in the position they are in now with some of the poor effort numbers.
Brooklyn is in a precarious position. When the series is tied at two games apiece, the home team is 111-41 in game five. Even further, the home team has won the series 118 times and lost the series only 34 times. The Raptors have been beaten up this series, with the likes of Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, and Landry Fields all battling respective injuries, yet the Nets haven't been able to attack and dominate this series.
Historically, the Nets are in a tough spot. They have around a 30-percent chance of winning this series. The only thing looking up for the team in black-and-white is that they have already taken one from Toronto in the rowdy Air Canada Centre. But as the series progresses it gets harder and harder for a team to take one on the road. The Raptors have risen to the occasion in this series, namely Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and aren't going to let the veteran Nets off easy.
That being said, it would seem as if the Nets must win Wednesday, plain and simple. Historically, the team with a 3-to-2 series lead wins the series nearly 86 percent of the time. If the Nets fail to pick up the win tomorrow in Toronto, it would be even more difficult to take one there in a Game 7 environment, no matter what former champions are suiting up for them. Brooklyn must show urgency on Wednesday, something that has been lacking in this series, and put forth that complete performance that Paul Pierce was referring to on Sunday. Pierce thought it was coming in Game 4, but it didn't, and now the Nets have their backs against the wall.
With the loss at the Barclays Center Sunday night, sprinkled with questionable coaching decisions and in-game strategy, the Nets will face the most pressure of their pressure-filled season Wednesday night. We will see if Brooklyn's high-paid roster and veteran presence can rise to the occasion. If they don't, the numbers and history won't be in their favor for the rest of the way.