As feared, the Amir Johnson was not able to cope with Paul Pierce, and Dwane Casey was forced to make an early change, reducing Johnson’s minutes to a paltry 21, while Patrick Patterson notched 26 minutes in a smaller lineup.  For Game 2, the Raptors have a choice of reintroducing their two-big lineup with Valanciunas and Johnson, and try to impose themselves on the Nets, or dance to the Nets’ small-ball tune.


  • Ballaholic55

    No Patterson! He was beat by Pierce just as much if not more than Amir was! Landry Fields is an asset we have to use, he has playoff experience with the Knicks in his first year, and he’s shown in past seasons with the raps that he can guard the PF position no problem. Example: Against the Knicks 1-2 years ago, Landry SHUT DOWN Carmelo, Rudy couldn’t have done a better job at the time. I don’t know if he is 100% to play, but I say give it a shot. I’m just saying, Landry at the 4 spot on Pierce will add speed, high IQ, play-making and better defense. Once we get out of this series, then we can look at bringing back Amir to the starting lineup.

    • hotshot

      But Casey hates Field, that is the only possible explanation why he always goes to Salmons instead.

      • roundeye

        Landry is pounding Caseys wife…

        • FREEJV

          nah landrys wife is 1000x better than caseys probably

        • c_bcm

          Let’s try to stay focused on basketball.

      • ace5950

        Casey “hating” Fields isn’t even a logical explanation

    • Raps

      I think with Fields the raps offence will be even worse than game 1. The weakness/strength with BKN is that they play small and in order to punish them, we have to use JV and Amir as much as we can. With Fields, spacing will be a major issue and JV wouldn’t be able to operate. Besides, we won the rebounding battle so why match them when we can force them to match us.

    • ad

      Arent we giving fields too much credit here? Sure, we can give it a try but its not like fields is known as a lockdown defender. They dont really have anyone that can guard pierce.

      • Ballaholic55

        Yeah but I’d put my money on a guy who I know will work his ass off for some minutes in Landry Fields, rather than Salmons who comes in stroking his beard on defense.

    • Heyjoe

      Patterson is +75 against the nets in 74 minutes during reg season. Next best player in all of NBA was +52.

      IMO play Patterson of the bench to give JV rest. Play Amir off the bench when Pierce is on the bench. Run 2 point guards and hope to win despite Greivis being pretty terrible on defense. Lowry + DD + Ross + GV is a very tough combo to defend, they can all pass pretty well, they are all fast. GV, lowry and ross are all excellent 3 ball shooters. They can all drive. The answer is clear IMO.

  • DDayLewis

    Come on Zarar…


    just start landry fields man fuckkkkk. also start greivis at the sg instead of ross. our bench would be stronger + dont have to worry about ross picking up stupid fouls


    new nickname for pierce : paul “airmilesrewardmiles” pierce tell me what you guys think.

  • Paul

    Start Fields. Amir can back up at the five which keeps Hayes off the floor

  • ace5950

    This is a stupid poll, the guy had one bad game and everyone wants to throw him under the bus. Amir’s proven to come up big and he has played solid against the nets. If anything Landry coming in instead of Salmons just because he’s a pretty decent lock down defender and he’s great at moving without the ball.

  • GetLicks

    Zarar… For a guy who watches as much ball as you do, I’d really like to know what game you were watching. Pierce was 2-6 at half and 2-8 after 3 quarters. The reason Casey went with Patterson down the stretch was for his offence and perimeter shooting, which was keeping us in the game. Geeze, I expect better from RR.

    • plaid coast

      yeah this was my reaction to both the quick-respond and the post game articles. pierce broke amir down once or twice. compare that to williams and livingston who broke down lowry and GV over and over and over. also, i know that JV had a great game but he turned the ball over 6 times. JV’s plus/minus was also a game low of -17. JV’s man to man defence is great but i think we can all agree that PnR or help defence is much better performed by amir johnson than any of the other bigs and i think we need to stick with him for this upcoming game.

      • GetLicks

        Agree completely. Vasquez was absolutely torched and you could tell the Nets game plan was to attack him every time down the floor. Also, in the quick reaction I remember reading ‘Derozan’s first playoff game made VC’s look awesome.’ Not really sure where that came from either, considering DD shot 3-13 and Vince shot 3-20. Derozan had a terrible game, but these exaggerated cheap shots just because ppl are upset are unnecessary IMO. As I said, I expect more from RR.

    • arsenalist

      Pierce v Johnson is why we got off to a bad defensive start. If you’re looking at points scored alone, then yes, Pierce didn’t have a “big” game. Consider, however, the impact of having Amir Johnson play that away from the rim and you realize that our interior defense is compromised because our best interior defender is out on the wing guarding nobody, putting more pressure on our sophomore big man.

      Also consider that defensively, Pierce’s mobility makes him a more able pick ‘n roll defender, which is where Amir Johnson’s strengths lay. So having him play Amir introduced a more able defender for Amir on the play he prefers the most.

      With regards to one-v-one breakdowns, its not so much blow-bys that hurt the team, it’s the shifts and fades in a defense that everyone is making when Pierce has the ball against Amir – it’s always a concern in everyone’s mind when a matchup like that is present on the floor and introduces a negative variable into the equation.

      • Mugsy

        Anybody guarding Pierce on the wing as the Raptors 4 would be taken away from interior defense, leaving JV alone as the helper. This has nothing to do with Amir, only the fact that Pierce as a stretch 4 creates this type of problem in general. Subbing someone else in to guard him doesn’t solve that problem.

        Same can be said for the offensive point you made. If its the case that the P&R wasn’t working because of Pierce’s mobility, the same would be true with other players at the 4. Again taking him out doesn’t solve that problem. Making JV the P&R big man would.

        The only reason playing someone else like Patterson or Salmons at the 4 would be to stretch the floor and give a bigger lane for the P&R with whichever center is in the game. Thus allowing either JV or Amir to be that guy at the 5. Which would help improve their terrible offense from the first game. But subbing him for defensive purposes doesn’t make much sense.

  • SachinArora19

    Why would you mess with what has been working the whole season. One bad game because of jitters shouldn’t be cause to change the line-up, which could potentially result in an even worse game 2.

    • ChilaxItsOnlyOneGame

      Best comment I have read in the last two days.

  • Mexiballer

    Landry Fields for Jon Salmons. I would like to see Amir play more inside so the Raptors can control the boards and get more put backs. Im not sure how that woudl work with Brooklyns small ball line up. But I would rather see if we can force them to adjust to our bigs then us adjusting to their smalls.

  • HQ

    no need to change the starters but i’m all for fields over salmons

  • Matteemo

    I think stick with Amir, but maybe switch the coverages, Demar or Ross on Pierce. Try Amir’s muscle and length on Joe Johnson.

    • Matteemo

      Johnson mostly hurt us on post-ups matched up against a slimmer guard, Amir on him would take that away. In my opinion Johnson doesn’t have the handles and craftiness that Pierce does to shake a guy like Amir as easily. Admittedly though, the perimeter coverage will be tough no matter who Amir guards.

      • Matteemo

        As much as the eye-test does not suggest it, Demar was ranked top of the league in ISO defense, Pierce’s big plays mostly came out of ISO situations. Ross’ quickness I think could cause Pierce problems as well.

  • Bryan Colangelo

    I’m would be curious to see if a second unit with Amir at center and Patts at 4 could get more easy buckets in transition. I don;t know if Amir could score on Garnett, but I’m pretty confident he could defend him.

    So yeah, maybe Patts should start, with Amir subbing in for Val.

    Do you guys know something the rest of the league doesn’t? That Landry Fields is a secret All-Star that the world is conspiring against and he just needs some minutes to unlock his awesomeness?

    Hansborough would definitely be a better back-up at center than Hayes in this series. The games are just going to get chippier from here on out, and he’s an foul magnet. He is also better at getting up and down the court in transition.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      On second thought, they need to stay big and let Pierce get his 30, 40 points. The Raptors don’t have enough play makers or ball handlers to just reinvent their offense and play ‘longball’. Just live and die by the pick and roll and hope we can protect the perimeter without getting into foul trouble.

  • voice of reason

    one bad your logic should we also take t ross out of the starting lineup
    oh and what about that guy named derozan
    pierce was having a bad night till about when there was 3 minutes left in the game if u remember its not that amir couldn’t guard him

  • Milesboyer

    Mismatches are always two sided. It’s up to the Raptors to exploit the mismatch on the offensive end with Amir. Be the hammer, not the nail!

    • ace5950

      lol sounds like Jack

      • Donfiasko

        F**k the nail be the hammer!

  • Raps

    I don’t understand this. Derozan/Ross were arguably worse than Amir and there isn’t a pole asking if the raptors should replace either of them with Vasquez. It’s game 1 for goodness sake. Cut Amir some slack. I trust Amir will bounce back next game and be able to guard Pierce. Remember, this was the same guy that was defending Durant fairly well back in March…

  • SickNTired

    Pierce wasnt the problem, it was Joe Johnson. He got into the paint at will

    Put 2 Pat on Joe and Ross comes off the bench

    And why are we not using some zone D?

  • Mexiballer

    We need Amir back under the basket where he belongs. He can wreak havoc offensively and defensively when hes down there working on the inside. Let Amir and Jonas control the glass and force the Nets to adjust.

  • duane


  • da kid deebee

    is this really accurate? pierce only had six points in the first half

    • asifyouknow


  • Ted


    • Gary Gill

      Woah ted??? Really u want Casey fired!??

      • Gary Gill

        Probably gonna extend him but if the raps get swept I dunno.

        • Ted

          If Casey continues to use Salmons, not use Landry Fields and replaces Amir with Salmons then he can go. I do think 2Pat should be the only one who should replace Amir on the starting lineup. Make them match us.

          • Gary Gill

            Do you really think as of right now fields do a better job than salmons? Fields I think barely played in the regular season will be effective now?

            • Ted

              Yes, defensively he will be better. Offensively, he won’t dribble the ball for 10seconds before passing it to someone else. Salmon’s hasn’t been effective for months now.

              • Gary Gill

                It worked out great. But this team needs to protect the ball more. Too many unforced turnovers.

                • Ted

                  I know people will blame nerves and inexperience but the Nets have long experienced guards who have the size advantage on the likes of TRoss and Demar so I don’t see that changing dramatically.

                  As long as Novak, Hayes and Salmons never see the court, this team should be able to stay in tough each game against the Nets.

                  Landry should start guarding Joe Johnson and if TRoss starts hitting his jumpers, it remove some pressure and turnovers off Lowry and Demar.

                • Gary Gill

                  I agree but many were like unforced turnovers. It’s great that the raps are way better at rebounding so the turnovers don’t hurt too much. And no Amir on pierce that I’ll never end well. Just need to secure it better. No dribbling it off the foot and so on. If we do that we’ll be fine otherwise it might be a long night.

      • Gary Gill

        If john gibbons can keep his job I think Casey deserves the benefit of the doubt.

  • RPT23

    I was just mentioning this in one of the threads, how about bringing in Novak? Sure he sucks on defense but if Casey can, I don’t know, use his formidable zone defense once in a while, he can probably hide that deficiency. On the plus side, Super Novak will at least pose a threat on the perimeter and force Pierce (or whoever decides to guard him) to stick to him, improving the guards/wings some room to at least drive into the paint! Anyway, Casey already shows more confidence in Novak than Fields so it could be a move that I wouldn’t be surprise if he were to make a drastic change.

    • Haim not Feldman

      Word! He’s also got some length so he can at least double team if the zone breaks down. On offense, he’s a good option to have, especially if the Raps return to the ball movement they had during their regular season beastmode run.

  • Gary Gill

    Amir shouldn’t be guarding piece!!!

  • OM

    I think that Greivis should be in the starting lineup

    • asifyouknow

      absolutamente…..I think they got to keep the ball moving …DeColo can handle 10 minutes without hurting the team …
      Casey hinted at some lineup changes that may be one Vaz for Ross….

  • ad

    I would start patterson and hope amir has more energy off the bench. If PP really struggles guarding pierce, then we can bring in everyones saviour, fields. Amir is really the most important piece for our defense. If hes off, the whole d suffers. Im disappointed at his performance but maybe he is more hurt then hes letting on.


    Key Offensive/Defence problems with Raptors

    * Demar reluctance or inability to give up ball to cutting Jonas upon the double!! This happens either because he has no trust in this ability to make pass or trust that Jonas will make basket or his low bball IQ.

    * Raptor Spacing issues Demar on the block has to be given a clear option to pass to on the double ie Novak / Paterson because the double is coming from their 4/5 (Garnett) therefore the man who is being left open needs to slide into a passing pocket and burn them everytime with the 3 ball. This will allow him to get more single coverage options

    * Lack of Penetration BKN is also collapsing on Demar when he attempts to drive from the 3 and 4 but he is not hitting the weak side cutter! instead he is kicking the ball back outside playing right into BKN hands forcing Toronto to take contested 3s

    *Simplification and Aggression
    Demar/Ross need to practice the shit out of 2-3 tops go to moves and apply them upon getting the Ball and lose the delay time they are alllowing BKN defence to get reset. These Guys are way to quick and athletic to not be taken to game to Brooklyns Slower Wings. Demar needs to change approach when the Overly Aggressive Anderson is guarding him try to get in the air by using post power play or try to shoot through his ever reaching hands to draw fouls

    *Defence Issues on Pierce
    This is quite Simple but Casey does not have the brains to Apply this tactic 2min Denial Defence. PP Age and body type simply shows me that he is not in best shape so by using Fresh Defenders such as Hansborough/Feilds/Patterson who are all very mobile with the height to contest in quick rotation intervals to simply wear him down in attempting to get open and frustrating him in the process Let him force tired shots, eventually . The Raptors can afford to do this because the can play all other threatening positions straight up via KL,TR,JV

    • asifyouknow

      Good points , easy solution …quick passes, no holding the ball as DeMar did (looked like Rudy at times) and take only the good shot.
      As much as I hate to say this -pass up the good shot for a better one- it’s relevant to this series because of their guard play.
      They will win, Nets are not that good they just caught the Raptors in a bad night.

  • DanH

    Keep the same starters, just get Amir out earlier (say, 4 minutes into the 1st) and sub Patterson in to match up with Pierce, letting Amir back into the game as the backup C/PF against Blatche/Plumlee.

  • Lucas

    they need to mix in some zone, whether it be 2-3 or 3-1-1. Not only would it hide amir, but it would make joe johnson’s life a living hell – no isolation or pick and roll. Although they never played it this year, casey has a precedent with playing an effective zone. Not saying they should play zone all the time, but mix in a few possessions of it off makes/after time outs to confuse the nets

  • asifyouknow

    LOL…can’t throw out the baby with the dirty bath water my friend…One game …that is all …one bad game,….you will all forget about it Tuesday after the win.>>>.Go Raptors…

  • Garrett Hinchey

    I realize that as a fan base we’re relative playoff neophytes, but let’s not overreact, here.

    Amir was one of our best players this season, and for the past five seasons. One bad game does not a starting spot loss make. He deserves the chance to try and figure it out on the court, and he’s proven time and time again that he’s our best option at the four.

    It’s up to the coaching staff to take advantage of the opportunities he presents at the other end. We’ve harped on Casey making reactionary lineup decisions since he got this job. Why do we want him to do it now that we’re in the playoffs?

    I watched Amir do a passable job guarding LeBron this season. He can figure out Paul Pierce.

    • Ted

      Amir looked like he was playing hurt. In addition, I think the bigger problem was the defense on Joe J and DWill. Both picked apart our wing defenders with crossovers and postups, using their skill and size over smaller defenders. I think Landry Fields should be inserted into the starting lineup or atleast be the first to replace DDR/TRoss.

  • some random guy

    Ultimately, as much as I like Amir, we need a better starting Power Forward.

  • Vestige

    I DONT CARE HOW ITS DONE, bring demar off the bench for all I care, but we must….FREE FIELDS!!!! LET LANDRY PLAY!!!

    • Ted

      Also plz LOCK UP SALMONS!!

    • Haim not Feldman

      I’ve heard noise about Landry possibly playing tomorrow, but if neither stackmack (Holly MacKenzie) nor DamianTrilliard (Seerat SoHi-strung) tweet it, it’s not official.

  • cdub

    I think everyone is over reacting. It was one game….a game we were in and could have won despite numerous highly correctable issues…DeMar not reacting to the defense quick enough, Ross picking up early fouls, JV and DeMar turning the ball over. Most importantly at the end of the game we became very passive and did not try to get to the line, did not react well to the ball pressure leading to really poor shots/turnovers. I would like to see Fields or Hansborough get some burn. It just irks me that Casey didn’t give Fields any minutes at the end of the season, now he is talking about putting him in with like 1 game under his belt in the last two months. ….however I would be surprised not to see Amir in the starting lineup.

  • canuck_eh

    I’m a little late on this one, but just read it. Am I missing something?? I know the boxscore and play-by-play don’t tell the whole story, but how is it that “Amir was not able to cope with Pierce”? Pierce got an opening three, a three-point play and…that’s it…until the fourth where he scorched the Raptors for nine in a row…with Patterson on the floor.

    You can see that Amir isn’t himself and I’m a big P Paterson fan, but with Johnson and Williams going off for 20+ (DeRozan? Lowry??), and Amir nailed to the bench when Pierce scored at will, I don’t understand the premise of this poll…

    Amir has earned his spot as a starter and I like the Raptors playing big. Almost every time the Raps went inside on Saturday they got the bucket or the foul. Casey needs to implore JV (..and Patterson) go for the dunk as opposed to those little put-backs that missed. Garnett’s got nothing, except his yapper, and he can’t stop ’em. Our bigs and wings can outrun those geezers so we need to up the tempo tonight.. Go Raps.

  • Joelkorrie Mueller

    If I start the game with the same line-up, I put Ross on Livingston, Derozen on Pierce and Amir on Johnson.
    I’m tired of Ross always been hung out to dry having to guard players 30 pounds heavier. Put him on Livingston and quit hiding Derozen. Make Derozen guard Pierce. Ross should take away Livingston’s in between game. Put Amir on Johnson and take away his post up. Every ball screen you double and make Johnson pass or Pierce pass. Fields needs to play. Time to put Salmons on the bench. Even if you don’t go small ball.