Nets use momentum to force Game 7

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: Nets use balanced offense and feisty defense to drop Raptors in Game 6 

NEW YORK – It’s been said that there’s no momentum in the playoffs, that every game has its own identity. In fact, Raptors coach Dwane Casey preached that very mantra earlier in this series.

But what other way would you explain the Brooklyn Nets’ first-half offense in Game 6? After scoring 69 points in the second half of Game 5 on Wednesday – erasing a 26-point deficit along the way – the Nets blitzed the Raptors for 60 points in the first 24 minutes on Friday.

Over four quarters, they scored at a rate of 140 points per 100 possessions, which is quite ridiculous. And after building a 26-point lead of their own in the third period, they never let the Raptors get within single digits, forcing a Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday with a 97-83 victory.

Casey had no choice but to agree that the Nets started this game like they finished the last one, but held his stance in regard to what might happen in Game 7.

“I still say every game is different,” Casey said. “Sunday’s game will be different. It’ll be something else we talk about.”

Casey had better hope so, because over the last 60 minutes of basketball, his team has been outscored 141-105 and the Nets have found a lineup, a point guard, a pace, and a defensive mentality that works for them.

After Alan Anderson played a role in Brooklyn’s comeback on Wednesday, he got the start in place of Shaun Livingston on Friday. The change gave the Nets more spacing offensively and allowed their primary ball-handlers more opportunities to attack the paint.

“It was more of a feeling among the coaching staff,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said, “the way that [Anderson] played for us in that fourth quarter up in Toronto, to see if he could carry that over. And he definitely picked up where he was in Toronto.”

So did Deron Williams. The Nets’ point guard has been maligned in the press (and outside Barclays Center) in this series, but also played a role in that comeback on Wednesday, picking up his aggressiveness and scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.

Williams pushed the pace late in Game 5, because he had no other choice with his team in such a hole. In Game 6, he looked to run early and often, attacking the Toronto defense before it could get set.

“When we can get some stops and get the ball out in transition,” Williams said, “I definitely think it suits my style of play. But I think it helps our offense when they can’t set up their defense. We move the ball really well.”

“They played faster,” Casey added. “They got us on our heels early.”

And they got into the paint. The Nets got 24 (their high for the series) of their 36 field goals in the paint, with Joe Johnson continuing to beat the Raptors up in the post and the Nets’ bigs benefiting from the guards’ penetration.

But as Williams noted, it started with stops. The Nets played their best defense of the series, holding the Raptors to just 83 points on 92 possessions.

While Brooklyn got into its offense early, Toronto got into its offense late. The Nets shut down their early actions and forced them to improvise with little time left on the shot clock. They continued to pressure Toronto’s guards out high on pick-and-rolls, but also did a better job of meeting the roll man before he could get to the basket.

Most of the Raptors’ first quarter offense was DeMar DeRozan hitting some very tough shots, a trend that just couldn’t be sustained. Kyle Lowry never got going, shooting just 4-for-16 after a brilliant performance in Game 5.

“They did a good job,” Casey said, “of trapping him, blitzing him, and getting him out of his rhythm.”

“Desperate basketball,” Kevin Garnett called it. “We had our backs to the wall at home, but there was no way in hell they were going to come here and get a win today.”

Now comes Game 7, with the Nets hoping things continue to go the same way and the Raptors hoping Casey is right.

10 Comments

  1. None Of The Above says:

    This must be the most interesting playoffs in memory – more game sevens, more overtimes and more away wins than I can remember seeing.

    A little note to Yankil – I’m certainly not surprised by the bias against the Raptors. You know what too many Americans are like towards Canada. If the Raptors were based in the U.S. I bet they would get much more respect.

  2. BeReal says:

    As badly as the raps played (and DESERVED too lose) the refs couldn’t be any more biased. I don’t care if your a nets fan, raptors fan or a fan of all teams, just watch that game and tell me those refs weren’t in favor of the Nets. What I took out of game 6 is, Raptors couldn’t of played any worse and STILL had a chance at the end of the game too make it close & with the help of the refs Brooklynd could barley hang on. Brookylnd is a horrible team, I don’t know how they don’t get called every single drive by the raptors because they litterly foul EVERY possession. If people think Brookylnd is going too have a chance against Miami, they are sadly mistaken. I’d like to see the Nets get the calls they do against the raps, against LeBron and the Heat. If a fair game is called in game 7 and the Raptors don’t play like 5 year olds on a playground, then look forward to a Raptors vs Heat matchup.

  3. Yankil says:

    It’s not just this article that is biased, the whole US is biased when it comes to the raps. Raps finished 3 in the conference, nit some fluke 7th or 8th finish that got them to thud playoffs, and no one in the US gives them an respect. As if finishing third is somehow possible by chance over an 82 game season. TNT hasn’t televised even 1 game! Not even 1! Hearing Kenny speak about raps at half shows that he is just so generic and hasn’t actually gotten to know the raps team outside the highlight reels. Reminds me of when VC was in Toronto….all they ever saw in the US were highlights and thought that he is a champion caliber player, yet he was nothing more than a highlight reel with no heart or determination. The refs are biased, the announcers are biased, and the ex retired NBA players are biased. But go raps go, kick these old bags into retirement. 60 points in last two quarters as if it’s such a rare occurrence . HA! I say.

  4. jiacs says:

    If anyone was watching the game, the raptors defensive intensity was atrocious… rotations were slow, they were willingly giving up the post for some easy layups for the nets. The second half was a completely different story (especially the 4th quarter), I really doubt the raptors will come out that “slow” again, but then again they are a young team so you never know.

  5. Leo says:

    As bias as this article was…I’ll say this.
    I doubt Kyle Lowry is going to just allow what happened in Game 6 happen again.
    I really do hope Terrence Ross has figured out how to get his offense going and his pick up his defense abit.
    I better see DeMar Derozan play smarter basketball.
    I think Jonas Valanciunas not getting random foul calls in first half is going to be key.

    Nets and the Referees vs the Raptors – Game 7

  6. Roy says:

    If you’re going to talk about momentum and the rate at which the Nets are scoring per possession then its not great reporting to leave out the fact that in the second half the Nets only scored 37 points in the first half. If you look at the scoring at the end of the game its the Nets that need momentum change. They will have to score more than they did in the last 2 quarters of the last game to beat the Raps at home. And guaranteed the Raps aren’t getting held to 83 points at home.

    The reality is this, it would have been highly unlikely for a young team like the Raps to beat a veteran team like the Nets 3 straight games in the playoffs where the third game is in Brooklyn with the home team facing elimination. I bet the stats for that scenario for the last 30 years bear out the same result for the vast majority of games. So lets see where momentum is on Sunday.

  7. Some Guy says:

    Raptors in 7

  8. x says:

    go nets! doesn’t matter if game 7 isn’t at home, the important thing is to win! let’s face miami in the second round!!

  9. jusstcruzin says:

    I really hope Brooklyn wins because I feel they will give the Heat a lot of trouble!

    • canada says:

      yeah probably brooklyn is a better match-up against miami. time and time again beat miami beat toronto.