|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +12He’s clearly hobbled – he was keeling over during stoppages in play – but holy hell, did he work hard tonight. Had a couple of massive blocks that led to scores on the other end, and was extremely efficient on the offensive end. One play that stands out was an iso on the high block where he drove Pierce into the low post and bullied him out of the way for a lay-up. He’s going to have difficulties all series chasing the Nets’ stretch fours – tonight, it was Mirza Teletovic – but if he can play like that on the other end, he’s a huge help. His dunk at the end of the game = all the feels.|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 25 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -8Ineffective for the second straight game on both ends of the floor. I’d imagine a lot of it is due to jitters – a lot of the shots he missed tonight were good looks – but he needs to step it up defensively for the Raps to continue justify playing him with the season on the line. The bright spot for him tonight was a gorgeous dish out of the lane that led to a Vasquez 3 in the second quarter.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 5-9 FG | 5-7 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 15 PTS | -5There are plenty of rookie mistakes, yes – he bites on every pump fake the Nets throw at him – but man, what a difference maker when he’s out there. The Nets have nobody to battle with him on the boards, and he’s fully taking advantage of that. You have to love his compete level, too, which is absolutely Lowry-esque. Thus far, he’s the breakout star of the Eastern Conference’s first round.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 4-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -2Rough, rough first half, but man, the guy has a sense of the moment, doesn’t he? Drew a charge late in the fourth and had some key hoops late that helped the Raptors put the game away. Even when he’s off, he’s on.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 9-21 FG | 12-14 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 30 PTS | +7Rebounded from his game one stinker with a varied, effective offensive repertoire, complete with a statement dunk in the fourth quarter, where he carried the scoring load. Unfortunately, it’s everywhere else that he needs to improve if he doesn’t want to be a liability – Joe Johnson eviscerated him to the point that Fields needed to play crunch time minutes, and he finished the game with 5 fouls and 6 turnovers. That said, he’s trending upward from game one, which is a good thing moving forward. Was clutch at the end, hitting a litany of free throws to bury the game.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +1He’s been an underrated key to the Raptors’ success since he came over in the Gay trade, and tonight, he was all over the floor. I loved seeing his relentless approach on the offensive glass. Bonus: he was the only Raptor without a turnover tonight. Like Amir, he has difficulties chasing the Nets around the perimeter, but the relief you have when the ball finds its way into his hands cannot be understated.|
|Landry Fields, SF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +8Casey, finally listening to the legions of Raptors fans who have been calling for it for weeks, decided to insert Fields into the rotation over Salmons, and he responded by playing lock down defense on Joe Johnson and snagging some tough rebounds. He was an underrated key to the Raptors’ overall effort tonight. Big stat: zero shot attempts. That presence of mind alone makes him a better option than Salmons. Excellent, excellent game.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +12Aside from Jonas, he’s the one player the Nets don’t really have an answer for on the offensive end. He’s been really effective as both a ball-handler and off-ball scorer in both games this series, and he’s managed to stay passable defensively, which is all you can ask of him. If Ross doesn’t heat up, he’ll become a bigger and bigger part of the Raptor game plan.|
Made some questionable decisions – he took way too long before he switched DeRozan off Joe Johnson – but made some unconventional adjustments that made a big difference tonight. You can’t blame him for the Raptor turnovers, which is the only reason this game was close. Inserting Fields made a big difference, and he played the right 8 guys in a tight rotation.
Five Things We Saw
- Turnovers, guys, turnovers. The whole “first-time playoff jitters” thing is real, and it’s most evident when it comes to taking care of the ball: after 19 turnovers in game one, the Raps had 20 tonight. It’s remarkable – and a testament to this teams’ attitude – that they’ve managed to stay in both games (and win this one).
- That being said, the Raptors were the better team tonight and deserved the win. The possessions they lost on turnovers were gained back through rebounding, where everyone chipped in (final margin was 52-30, Raps). In a series that’s been decided by broken plays, so far, that’s a huge edge to have.
- The ACC crowd, again, was fabulous tonight. Kudos to the fans in the building, who are clearly making a difference to both teams. Once the Raptors shake off the jitters, you can tell the energy in the building fuels them. It was great to see the standing O late in the fourth (and the “KG sucks” chants were great, too).
- People will harp on the reffing, and they might have a point, particularly when it comes to Garnett getting bailed out every time he gets blocked (seriously, how much is he paying these refs?). However, the Raptors ended the game with 5 fewer fouls called against them that the Nets, and there were plenty of ticky-tack calls that went the Raptors’ way, too. Getting the Nets in the bonus early in the 1st quarter was key to building an early lead for the home team.
- 1-1, baby! Enjoy this one, Raptors fans – it’s been nearly six years since the team’s last playoff victory. Here’s hoping it’s only three days until the next one.