Game 2 could answer questions on Brooklyn bench

By John Schuhmann,

VIDEO: Through the Lens: Nets vs. Raptors Game 1

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors will go into Game 2 of their first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV) knowing that they will likely get better games from starting wings DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross than they did in Game 1.

Ross and DeRozan, each playing their first career playoff game, combined to shoot 4-for-17 (1-for-8 from 3-point range). The Nets’ defense had a lot to do with their struggles, but first-game jitters were also a factor.

That’s the glass-is-half-full view for Toronto. But Brooklyn has one too, because the Nets know that their bench can’t play much worse than it did on Saturday.

Alan Anderson, Andray Blatche, Mirza Teletovic and Marcus Thornton shot a combined 6-for-22, missing all 12 of their 3-point attempts.

Anderson helped on the other end of the floor, but if Teletovic and Thornton aren’t making shots, they’re not helping much (beyond providing floor spacing). The Nets outscored the Raptors 55-37 in 23 minutes with at least four starters on the floor and were outscored 50-39 in 25 minutes with at least two reserves in the game.

Those numbers make Andrei Kirilenko‘s DNP all that more curious. Kirilenko can give you something on both ends of the floor and doesn’t rely on shot-making to make an impact. The Nets were 25-9 when Kirilenko played at least 14 minutes in the regular season.

But the Nets are a deep team and Jason Kidd came closest of any other coach to mimicking Gregg Popovich‘s minutes distribution. Only Joe Johnson (32.6), Deron Williams (32.2) and Brook Lopez (who played just 17 games) averaged more than 28 minutes a game in the regular season.

If Kirilenko would have played on Saturday, somebody who played at least 1,200 minutes would have sat. And Kirilenko’s on-off-court numbers don’t jive with that 25-9 record. Brooklyn was better both offensively and defensively with Kirilenko on the bench this season. While he’s a great off-ball cutter and brilliant passer, he shot just 5-for-31 from outside the paint and seemed to lose all confidence at the free-throw line after the All-Star break. With Shaun Livingston and Mason Plumlee, there are already two guys in the Nets’ rotation who can’t shoot beyond 15 feet.

Interestingly, the Nets are now 3-0 against the Raptors when Kirilenko doesn’t play and 0-2 when he does. Kidd will have to decide whether or not that’s a coincidence. He said Sunday that one DNP for Kirilenko “doesn’t mean that he’s not going to play any of this series.”


  1. Big Al says:

    The Nets can beat anyone in the East, even Miami (surprisingly), but whoever wins out in the West will be too much for them. The Spurs, Thunder or Rockets will eat them for breakfast. Only the Heat can keep the NBA title in the East.

  2. Matt says:

    The Nets worked hard? Please. I wouldn’t call tanking their last 5 games to face Raptors as a hard working team. Good teams don’t need to tank to win. This shows the lack of respect Raptors get not only from the league but from Americans overall. Did you even know Raps are 3rd in the East, Atlantic Division Champs (same division as Nets), one of the only teams to post top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency, and had the BEST record in the East beating out both Miami and Indiana ever since the Rudy Gay trade? Raps is a team full of hard working guys and they’ve come a long way being a young team. They don’t need to pay big bucks for old players about to retire to compete and they’ve proven that this season. You say Miami is sitting back, Washington will lose to Chicago, and Indiana will beat Atlanta. Guess what? No one sits back in the playoffs, Washington AND Atlanta are both leading their series. Maybe you should actually watch some basketball and read some stats instead of being a bandwagon fan.

    • crybabies says:

      its called resting players not tanking re-re

    • crybabies says:

      as a nets fan it was extremely hard to watch the nets “tank” against the NY Pricks (knicks)

    • crybabies says:

      oh yeah and refs helped atlanta beat pacers, refs also helped washington beat the bulls because the fans wanna see those 2 teams in the 2nd round.. Refs for MVP

      • J. Charny says:

        You think the fans want to see Washington and Atlanta in the second round over Chicago and Indiana? I must be replying to Rob Ford cuz you’re on crack.


    • Tan says:

      Nets will make noise deep in eastern final… Miami fan for sure don’t want see NEts in the second round…

  3. IKE (Bulls Fan) says:

    a lot of peopl are saying that the NBA will make the BKN win. No, the nets have worked super hard and spent a lot of money. the raptors are not a better team and honestly i would be surprised if the series went past 5 games. the nets are really the only team that is really stepping up and working for the ring. Miami is laid back because the bobcats are an easy out, Atlanta is working to beat the Pacers and the wizards are trying (even though the will fail) to beat the Bulls. No other teams in the east are putting as much effort into the games as the nets

    • J. Charny says:

      Did you watch Miami vs Charlotte? Lebron and the rest of those guys want to win. End of story.

  4. reppin416 says:

    The NBA makes it happen when it wants it to happen. I am forever scarred by the 2002 game 6 wcf kings vs lakers. and not to mention the 2006 nba finals. whenever a team (big market)s that the NBA wants to win is underperforming, the whistles will always go in the favour of that team thereby giving them an edge. I can already see the fate of this series. NO MATTER how good the raptors play, the 300 million dollars Brooklyn invested this season on their roster (that includes the 171 million luxury tax) will be too much for the raptors to overcome even if they are the better team. Thats all I have to say.

  5. netsfanfromafar says:

    “The NBA will ensure that BKN will win this series” really? Sour graping much?

    • DukeBlueDevils says:

      netsfanfromafar….Delusional much? How wonderful you think that the NBA is unbiased and fair. Uh huh. Boy do I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

      And what are you whining about? I already conceded that your tanking Nets will win the series courtesy of Adam Silver. There is just no pleasing some people.

  6. Jayson says:

    Brooklyn is just saving Kirilenko for the Miami series..

  7. Dave Barratt says:

    I believe raptors didn’t play the multiple pick and roll as they normally do. Brooklyn defense is only good if we don’t make our picks alot stronger. I believe the Bigs need to step it up. or BKN will take the series.

    • Dave Barratt says:

      Not Just Jonas

      • J. Charny says:

        Demar needs to step it up. He has to be the leading scoring and Jonas needs to be a defensive presence. Lowry is playing like he always does, Ross needs to get comfortable fast. Don’t fall asleep on Ross, he’ll drop 50 on you.

  8. haddeeepog says:

    sorry raptors but the dinosaurs will come up big on game 2!! Brooklyn 2 – 0!! GO NETS!!!

  9. okc2014 says:

    I think the Raptors focused too much on the shot clock being broken and there were way too many extended time outs. They got nervous and lost their focus. I’m chalking that up to playoff inexperience. Wednesday will be a great game. I’m tuning in.

  10. big_hoss says:

    The raps got fleeced by the refs in game 1 by not calling one foul on the nets in the 4th quarter . Its time the raps start getting the respect they deserve from the refs and the league.

    • DukeBlueDevils says:

      What are the Raptors to do? Despite having 12 American players on their roster, the NBA considers the Raptors as outsiders. This series will go BKN’s way simply because the NBA thinks revenue will not be as big if the Raptors make it to the 2nd round. The NBA will ensure that BKN will win this series. The phantom foul on Deron Williams; the zero fouls in the 4th Q by the Nets? There will be more of those from the 3 blind zebras officiating the games.