April 19th, 2014
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors Game 1 Recap
Final Score: Nets 94 Raptors 87
The Brooklyn Nets were able to head up north of the border to Toronto and take Game 1 against the young Raptors. The experience of the Nets was talked about a lot heading into this game, and with a loud crowd and shot clock issues, it certainly looked like that experience was the difference in the game.
Player of the Game: Joe Johnson
Throughout the game Joe Johnson was the Nets most consistent player on offense from start to finish, and nearly played the whole game, as Jason Kidd only gave him three minutes of rest. Johnson finished with 24 points on eight for 13 shooting, including going a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line. Johnson not only scored well for the Nets, he also led the team in rebounds with eight. He had four assists, and two steals as well to round up a great overall game.
In the first half it was a very aggressive Deron Williams, who was looking to score early and often. In the first half Williams had 18 points on seven for 17 shooting from the field. The second half was a different story for Williams, as he went one of three from the field. Williams finished going eight of 20 from the field for 24 points, which tied him with Johnson for the game-high.
Down the stretch for Brooklyn, Paul Pierce was the man to rise to the occasion like he has so many times in his career with some huge shots that gave the Nets the victory. Heading into the fourth quarter Pierce had just six points, but in the three minutes he scored nine points on a four for four shooting. Pierce finished with 15 points on six for 13 shooting with four rebounds, and four assists, as it was a good playoff debut for Pierce in a Nets uniform.
Raptor’s All-Star DeMar DeRozan was nowhere to be found in the loss, as he forced a lot of shots, and looked very uncomfortable in his playoff debut. DeRozan finished with just 14 points, well below his season average, as he shot it very poorly from the field going just three for 13, and zero for four from beyond the arc.
Center Jonas Valanciunas got off to a big start early for the Raptors on his way to a monster game, as the Nets inability to stop opposing team’s big men was on full display Saturday. Valanciunas finished with a big double-double, scoring 17 points on seven for 13 shooting to go along with a game-high 18 rebounds. The young Center did have six turnovers, but had a positive impact for the Raptors in his playoff debut.
Kyle Lowry did not disappoint in his first playoff start, as after a great regular season from Lowry he did all he could in Game 1 to get his team the win. Lowry finished with a team-high 22 points on seven for eight shooting to go along with eight assists, seven rebounds, and two steals. The Point Guard battle was pretty even between Williams and Lowry, this time resulting in a win for Brooklyn.
In the Nets resurgence this season, a lot of that had to do with them being able to hit the three-point shot with their smaller lineup, but on Saturday they were awful from deep. As a team the Nets shot four for 24 from behind the arc. The bench was the major problem shooting it from there, as Mirza Teletovic went zero from five, Alan Anderson went zero for three, and Marcus Thornton went zero for three.
The Raptors bench on the other hand played had two good performances Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson. Vasquez went five of 11 from the field for 18 points to go along with eight assists and four rebounds, and Patterson went four for eight from the field with nine points and five rebounds. Vasquez and Patterson’s good play helped the Raptors, as they outplayed Brooklyn’s bench.
Next up for the will be a few days off for both teams before Game 2 on Tuesday night in Toronto.