It was a must win for the Toronto Raptors tonight against the Brooklyn Nets in game two of their first-round playoff series. Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, Patrick Patterson, and surprisingly Landry Fields, all played big roles in the win, and DeMar DeRozan made some clutch plays down the stretch to get the W.
To begin the game, the Dinos were certainly not scoring, and the score quickly jumped to 8-1 for the Nets. Much like the first game, the Raps seemed to come out nervous, turned over the ball, and their shots were of the brick variety. The one thing that kept them going was their aggressive defense.
However the Raptors found their energy later in the quarter, going on an 11-3 run to force the Nets to take a timeout. Dwane Casey subbed in Landry Fields to end the quarter, and it might have been the best decision he could have made all game.
Landry not only finished the first, but also started the second. His on-the-ball defense was terrific, and it helped give the Nets issues as the Dinos pulled ahead. Throughout the second, the Raps were doing a good job shutting down Pierce, and Greivis Vasquez brought up the energy once again with his quick plays and assists. Overall, the bench played productive minutes and Patrick Patterson got in on the action as well.
While the aforementioned bench trio had a very good evening, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Terrence Ross played a rollercoaster game. Lowry was sloppy with the ball, Ross was invisible, and DD was doubled all game, which made for another game of tough shots.
And with the starters back in the game to begin the third quarter, the promising play of the second which led to a 45 to 39 lead, quickly died. To put it plainly, the third quarter was a disaster for the Raptors. Brooklyn closed the gap and tied the game at 47. They came out strong, and the Raptors should have seen it coming. But, Amir Johnson made a difference, and finished strong against Brooklyn’s bigs under the net. By the end of the third quarter despite the Nets' run, Toronto was only down by two.
DeRozan, who had been inconsistent all evening, turned it on in the fourth however. He made key baskets down the stretch despite being saddled with five fouls, and Kyle Lowry joined in to close things out. A dunk by Amir Johnson essentially sealed the win after Paul Pierce missed two wide-open three-pointers.
Raptors win 100 to 95, series tied baby!
Toronto’s rebounding made a huge difference in this one as they had 19 offensive rebounds to only 11 for Brooklyn. The Raps did have major turnover issues again (20) and shot horribly from beyond the arc (13%), but the rebounding and slightly more efficient shooting from the Raps got this W.
Oh...and a terrific home crowd once more.
Lowry had a huge charge in the fourth.
A big key to this win was shutting down Pierce; he only made 1 FG, and 7 points for the game. This was a huge difference.
DD was doubled hard all game once more, which resulted in most of his turnovers. But he came up big in the fourth quarter with 17 points.
This game definitely showed off some unexpected Raptors long bench strength.
Sarah’s Eye: I loved Valanciunas’ on the floor rebound. He passed it out to the perimeter while sitting in the key.