DeRozan makes like Pierce to help Raptors even series

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: DeMar DeRozan scores 17 in the fourth quarter to help the Raptors win Game 2

TORONTO – Game 2 of the first-round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets was a lot like Game 1, except that the role of Paul Pierce was played by DeMar DeRozan and the role of DeMar DeRozan was played by Paul Pierce. Since they play for different teams, the series is tied at one game apiece following the Raptors’ 95-90 victory.

Down two with less than 30 seconds left in the game, the Nets ran a really nice play to get Pierce wide open in the left corner. But his shot went in and out, and they never got another chance to tie or take the lead. Pierce shot 2-for-11 for the game, missing all six of his 3-point attempts.

“Sometimes they fall,” Pierce said afterward, “sometimes they don’t.”

But that end of the floor wasn’t the problem for the Nets. They were up two to start the fourth quarter and scored 29 points in the final 12 minutes. The problem was that the Raptors scored 36, shooting 12-for-16 from the field and scoring on 18 of their 23 possessions. After playing seven quarters of good defense, the Nets couldn’t get the stops they needed to take a 2-0 stranglehold on the series.

“We can’t have 4th quarters like that,” Kevin Garnett said. “Thirty-six points. That’s too many points for anybody. Preschool, Little League, YMCA, Raptors.”

But this is who the Raptors are. They were the league’s best fourth-quarter team in the regular season.

“Early in the year, we said we wanted to be the Freddy Krueger of the NBA,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Not give up. Not give in. I think our guys have done that. We won against a very veteran team like Brooklyn, and that is a very difficult thing to do.”

On Tuesday, they found a way to finally break through the Brooklyn defense, scoring eight of those 12 fourth-quarter buckets (and drawing a couple of fouls) in the paint.

But those wouldn’t have meant anything if DeRozan didn’t do his best Pierce imitation in the fourth, shooting 3-for-4 on mid-range jumpers and drawing fouls on three more. Apparently, he only needed one game to look like a postseason vet.

He also needed some time to himself after picking up his fifth foul with 7:13 left in the game. In the next timeout, DeRozan sat alone at the end of the bench, away from his team’s huddle.

He gathered himself, reentered the game with 3:48 left, and couldn’t be stopped. He was more patient than he was in Game 1, waiting for the one-on-one matchups that he liked. And when the Nets did throw a second defender at him, it just opened the lane for Kyle Lowry to get a key basket down the stretch.

It lacked the herky-jerkiness, but it was as good of a Pierce imitation as you’ll see. DeRozan shot just 5-for-16 through the first three quarters, but came up big with the game on the line.

Once you got beyond all the noise about officiating, the two days between Games 1 and 2 were about DeRozan, how the Raptors would get him better shots, and how he would recover after an ugly playoff debut. And with his team in a desperate situation, their All-Star stepped up.

“For him to come through,” Casey said, “after a tough first game, everyone doubting him and that type of thing, I was really happy with that.”

The Nets got the one victory they needed out of the first two games, but they have issues to address. There were some defensive breakdowns mixed in with DeRozan’s tough baskets and they got absolutely killed on the glass, allowing Toronto to grab 19 offensive rebounds. It’s been an issue for them since they went to a small lineup and the Raptors know they can take advantage.

More important, DeRozan knows he can have big games in the playoffs. Maybe he’s the next Paul Pierce.

25 Comments

  1. I’m Proud of the Raptors and Dwayne Casey America Gotta Give em Credit!

  2. okc2014 says:

    It would be nice to see the Raptors take this series. They kinda deserve it. Look at how they played all regular season. The Brooklyn Nets played catch-up.

  3. Rob says:

    The officiating was actually very fair in game 2. Sure Brooklyn got a few calls however Deron Williams got jobbed on a couple himself. He had a clean strip in the lane on an attacking Lowry that should have been Brooklyn ball (we went to the line), and he was absolutely swatted across the arm on a drive to the basket that should have been Williams to the line for 2 (but was a Net’s turnover) in the 4th.

    Stop crying about the officiating. The Raptors need to man up, and stop slouching or looking for fouls.

    Just play!, the better team will win.

  4. Adam Silver says:

    These dam raptors are gonna make us loose out on potential revenue. I must speak with the refs at once to ensure a Brooklyn defeat.

  5. Sam says:

    Brooklyn only has t beat the Raptors, the Raps have to beat the Nets AND the refs. But they will….#WeTheNorth

  6. David Stern says:

    hmmm, i dont like the way the raptors are gaining momentum. id better give adam a call

  7. Daniel Jacques says:

    why didn’t you post my comment?

  8. DonTor says:

    Full time NBA upgrade their officiating and make it objective with appropriate use of cameras….and do away with home court advantage and player advantage unsaid rules!!!

  9. Kyle Lowry says:

    We are better on the road!

    #WeTheNorth

  10. The Ghost Of T-Mac says:

    This might be the most exciting first round series. Im eager to see how my Raps will play in BK. The season series was 2-2 with both teams winning on the road once. T-Ross needs to have a breakout shooting clinic to help out his other teammates. I like the way Fields played D on JJ and PP. This will go to 7 games and although I am a Raptor fan to death its anybodies series.

  11. MT says:

    Great game. Hopefully all this noise about the officiating will make them tone it down a bit! Didn’t see much of a foul on Paul Pierce’s late and-1. Not as flagrant a miscall as his blatant travel at the end of Game 1 though.

    Its one thing to give stars big calls, but at least put it to bed when they are old and washed up! Seriously not sure how PP gets any respect outside of the hometown crowd after his Willis Reed moment a few years back, guy is a punk

  12. ghut says:

    celebrate now while you can! the next games will be BKN home court, I doubt your beloved raptors could survive at the barclays. BKN in 5!

  13. flabingo says:

    Wow! A $100,000,000 payroll and they lose. What a country! But next year they will be awesome without Kevin and Paul..

  14. flabingo says:

    Wow! A $100,000,000 payroll and they lose! Welcome to America. And what happens next year? Is Paul Pierce and Kevin Going to get better? Thank goodness for Shaquille, Kenny, Charles and the white guy. They are the best

  15. jdub455 says:

    Great win guys! Although hopefully we don’t get too excited cause Brooklyn still has the upperhand in the series… focus on getting back in Toronto 3-1 and lets wrap up the series and challenged the world champs!!! Go raptors!! F- -k Brooklyn! Lol!!!

  16. 416 since Mighty Mouse says:

    WE THE NORTH!

    Great game! Honestly when PP shoot the 3 I thought we are done! But DD was clutch and the Raps made plays on the defensive end. Hope Ross will have a breakout game to shoulder the load! Great team win! We are very proud of our team!

    • Adam Silver says:

      Proud of the Raptors as well. Not proud of the NBA for attempting to determine the outcome of this series by any means necessary, other than actually letting the teams decide it.

      • K.B.V.N. says:

        @AdamSilver…..”Proud of the Raptors as well. Not proud of the NBA for attempting to determine the outcome of this series by any means necessary, other than actually letting the teams decide it” I agree

      • RedX says:

        LOL @ name