Nets lead 1-0; win 94-87
This game went exactly how it was suppose to. Let's be true and honest with ourselves... This game played out 100% exactly how it was suppose to.
DeRozan, Ross and Amir suffered from stage fright. Brooklyn came out aggressive. The whistle favoured the Nets. And in game one, experience bested age in the end.
That said, this was only a 7 point loss. The Raptors were never really out of it. Ross was overly aggressive which earned him 3 fouls in 5 minutes and a quick hook. And despite DeRozan's poor outing, JV was HUGE!
Let's look at my X-Factors:
1. Bench Play - Raptors: 29, Nets: 16
Vasquez outscored the entire Nets bench on his own, 18-16. We'll see if the Nets' bench turns it on in game 3 and 4 in Brooklyn.
2. Ross: as mentioned before, 3 fouls in 5 minutes was pretty much his night. Only made one shot and couldn't take pressure off DeRozan.
3. D. Will: Deron Williams looked fresh for most of the game. 24 points, very solid performance. He came to play. Lowry will now have his work cut out for him if Williams continues at this pace. Chances are, D. Will will taper off a bit, but not by much.
1. Physicality: Nets pushed, Raptors stood strong and didn't back down. A tech on KG and Blatche for a couple of punk moves on Lowry motivated him.
2. DeRozan's playoff virginity broken: 0 FGs in the 1st half, more effective in the 2nd. Learned quick not to rely on his shot, but not quick enough. 14 points on the night. He was right, it wasn't rocket science.
3. Crowd support: inside the ACC was nuts, but outside was just as crazy! (Raptors) Maple Leaf Square looked like standing room only. Ujiri got the crowd rocking, saying "F$&@ Brooklyn!" That's not a joke! The crowd, both inside and outside were intense, with the paying customers letting Brooklyn and the refs what they really thought of them. I'm seeing game 2 downtown.
4. Dead Shot/Game Clock: I think this is where Brooklyn's experience came into play. The developed internal timing for the veteran Nets proved superior over the young Raptors, especially late in the 4th. That led to better execution for the Nets and late clock lapses for the Raptors. Nothing to be ashamed of. No one expected to happen, but you gotta deal with it and play on.
5. 12:30 start time: Raptors are 1-6 (including today's game) in early start times. You'd think that would be an advantage, but meh.
Next game: Tuesday at 7pm.
The message was sent by the Nets that experience matter. Message received by the Raptors.
The message was sent by the Raptors that they won't back down. Message received by Nets.
This series might go all seven games... Based on the first game, this series will be physical, tightly contested and highly entertaining! And you gotta be honest, we wouldn't have it any other way.
I still say Raptors in 6. Like I said, this was close, despite the Nets experience edge, and the Nets couldn't keep JV off the glass. Don't expect DeRozan/Ross/Amir to have back-2-back bad games. The crowd will once again be a factor. The jitters are out. Raptors will take game 2.