Team's Alter-Ego Rears Its Ugly Head Again
Series Tied 2-2
I - BKN 94; TOR 87
II - TOR 100; BKN 85
III - BKN 102; TOR 98
GAME FOUR FINAL
BROOKLYN NETS: Ya Can't Blame This One On The Fans!
The game started off ugly for the Nets, got better, then finished in a Flatbush Avenue wreck.
This is why I have to question whether the Nets actually "tanked" the last five games of the regular season, because the team that played Sunday's game looked awfully familiar to me. In those last five games, the Nets showed every reason why they should eliminate the Raptors, but also displayed every reason why the Nets would fail to get out of the first round.
The peaks and valleys, bumps and bruises that have been Nets basketball this season make Coney Island's famous Cyclone seem smooth and tame by comparison. Instead of being up 3-1, the series is now a toss up, or a best of three depending how you see things.
The Nets have no one to blame but themselves. Kevin Garnett can't blame the fans for this one. I wonder if he would want the boo's to rain down upon him and the team, the same way he wanted fans to shower the Raptors general manager with venom?
Talk about making life difficult for yourself.......... Fuhgeddaboudit.
You kind of expect DeMar DeRozan, or Kyle Lowry, to have the types of game they did - if not both together, which is what happened. DeRozan went for 24 points, and the Raptors got another 22 points from Lowry. That, by itself is fine.
The Nets even provided a second straight answer for Jonas Valanciunas. In fact, Toronto played with no bench support to speak of. However, the only one who was able to put a stop to Amir Johnson, was Amir Johnson himself. He started out on fire, but was forced to cool off because of foul trouble. Otherwise, the Raptors had three players in double digit scoring, in the first quarter alone.
Amir was just one variable in Brooklyn's three part losing equation. Deron Williams failing to at least match one or the other; DeRozan or Lowry; was a major factor, as was Jason Kidd's failure to devise strategies to free up Joe Johnson.
One can excuse Joe Johnson for Sunday's performance, but what of Deron Williams? Well, he was 4/12 from the field, and was limited to 10 points in the game. He was effectively outplayed by Greivis Vasquez, who came off the bench to score 9 points, and lead all players with 9 assists, while Deron Williams had 8 assists.
Did I say Greivis Vasquez?
It's ponderous, that after a horrible first quarter, the Nets still had this game tied 67-67 after three quarters. They just flat out blew it. All the numbers added up for them. While Toronto started the first quarter shooting a stupid 62% from the field, they ended up shooting 41.3% for the game. The Nets ended the night shooting 41.2%, but with 7 less total shots.
However, the Nets made up for that with 6 more opportunities from the free throw line. Rebounds were amazingly even, at 43 apiece. If anything, the Nets lost the turnover battle, and it cost them dearly down the stretch, namely by taking a series of offensive fouls.
Scoring only 12 points in the 4th quarter ultimately doomed the Nets in their own building. Their inability to hit a shot for long stretches at a time, is something we've definitely seen before.