Raptors 98, Nets 102 – Box

Emotionally devastating loss. For me, that is. I’m not sure how a professional athlete reacts to such roller-coaster affairs where at one point you’re down and out, and the next riding a platonic high, only to fall just short.

The Raptors played poorly for the most part, repeating their Game 1 and 2 mistakes of turning it over, defending shoddily, and relying on a brittle jumper-heavy offense. The Nets could only convert that to a 13-point lead which the Raptors stormed back from in the latter half of the fourth, a run featuring Patrick Patterson and Kyle Lowry scores and DeMar DeRozan getting to the rim, and subsequently to the line. In the end, it came down to some key moments:

  • Vasquez being called for a mysterious foul with 47 seconds left against Deron Williams, down 4
  • Vasquez then being called for a technical, which as Blake pointed out, had to have been due to the Venezuelan accusing the referee’s mother to be of an unsavory profession, since only an offense of that nature would merit such harsh series-altering punishment
  • Kyle Lowry being called for a phantom foul against Shaun Livingston in a one-point game with 20 seconds left, resulting in Lowry fouling out
  • Patrick Patterson missing two FTs with 19 seconds left
  • Landry Fields touching a ball which was going out of bounds on the second Patterson miss
  • More importantly, Livingston clearly fouling Fields as the ball is going out of bounds but no call being made.  When the referees reviewed the play, they couldn’t review the foul, only the touch

Those Patterson missed FTs was all she wrote.  I find it hard to blame him since without him we don’t have a chance to tie the game.

The first order of business in your first playoff road game is to not get blown out early. This was the only objective of the first quarter: to stay in the game, withstand whatever fake crowd noise the arena loudspeakers would blast out, and see to the initial bursts of Nets energy. The Raptors were able to do this. DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Jonas Valanciunas were a combined 8-11 FG in the first quarter where the Raptors looked significantly more focused and purposeful than they had the entire series. Just as Brooklyn, spurred by Joe Johnson going against Terrence Ross and Deron Williams finding the fountain of youth, got their offense clicking, the Raptors managed to apply very effective ball pressure. In the final six minutes of the first quarter, Brooklyn was held to 2-9 shooting which included Pierce and Johnson going a combined 0-4 (yes, Fields was on the floor guarding Johnson).

Down four to start the second, the Nets bench gave them a big boost in the quarter. Marcus Thornton got by the Raptors wings (ahem, Ross) too easily, and even though he didn’t finish well, his penetration opened up the Raptors loosely-anchored defense for others. This problem was compounded by the turnovers – in the first quarter the Raptors had 4, in the second they had 6, to only 3 assists. DeRozan had two of the them which led to easy baskets, and thus an 18-6 advantage in points in the paint for the second.

The Nets went on a Raptors turnover and bad-shot fuelled 12-1 late in the second quarter.  Deron Williams, as he had been all game, found acres of space on high-screens since the hedge was poor. Amir Johnson, guarding someone other than the screen-setter, was on the perimeter playing man-to-man, which meant his best asset – his defense – never came into play against Williams who was having a field day. Lowry, hobbled by an knee issue, was visibly slowed down and Williams was quick to recognize and exploit. Matters came to a head towards the end of the second when Lowry went for the steal on a Williams drive and hacked him, which prompted the latter to showcase his version of toughness, which meant walking behind Lowry and taping him on the ass. Kevin Garnett ended up screaming and pointing to his chest, and Alan Anderson appeared to have sodomized Thornton on the bench in excitement, while feigning restraining him . The Nets lead edged to nine, before Lowry free throws and a John Salmons (you read that right) hoop whittled the lead to a slightly less anxious four points.

The second quarter saw the Raptors move away from the relatively stable offense they had featured in the first.  Valanciunas, who was 3-3 in the first didn’t take a shot in the second, and in fact, only took one for the rest of the game (which he made).  That is perplexing, because if there is one Raptor that the Nets have no answer for, it’s Valanciunas.  Other than a post-up where he had the ball poked out from behind in the third, I don’t recall any sort of methodical play designed to get him going.  Casey opted for a guard-heavy offense which featured Greivis Vasquez, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry dominating the ball and trying to create from the perimeter.  The trademark team basketball which got the Raptors here was missing, and reduced to DeRozan volume-shooting his way to a 8-13 point deficit for the majority of the game.  I don’t necessarily have an issue with him shooting jumpers, as 60% of his shots last night were defined as “uncontested”, it is the preceding play that results in those shots that vanquishes your soul: static, dribble-heavy, low-pass offense.

Casey’s choice to play unorthodox lineups in the second that I’m pretty sure were playing together for the first time all year (weird combinations of Fields, Hansbrough and Salmons), had the Raptors in a role-reversal playing small-ball with Tyler Hansbrough at the center to no good effect.  Instead of establishing Valanciunas further, he chose to run post-ups for Hansbrough which is akin to throwing a dart when you have a machine gun at your disposal.  It was just very weird, that’s all.

The third quarter start was ominous – DeRozan missing another 20-footer and Deron Williams getting two at the rim after he got his shoulder past Lowry, something he was able to do all evening without ever having his mid-range game tested. This was surprising because the Raptors had gotten out of jail by only being down six at the half, and I expected them to recognize their wayward ways, count themselves lucky to be in this one, and apply full measures going forward. Unfortunately, they did anything but. The third quarter shot chart has them hanging around on the perimeter going 5-14 (36%).

Valanciunas, again, didn’t take a shot in the third quarter.  The other sophomore, Terrence Ross, was getting eaten alive on defense.  It wasn’t just Joe Johnson that had him on a string, he had trouble guarding Thornton as well.  I almost can’t fault Casey for turning to Salmons, given how ineffective Ross was.  I’m sure his time will come but this game, and potentially this series, is all about initiation for him.  I also wonder how Casey makes his Salmons/Fields decisions – coin flip?  Salmons offered no resistance to Johnson, whereas Fields was marginally respectable.  Given how both are offensive write-offs (though Salmons did hit a couple jumpers and Fields missed a layup) and that they’re main use in this series is defense, I find it hard to accept picking Salmons over Fields.

The game was drifting away from the Raptors until it suddenly came closer.  Midway through the fourth when some were calling for the Raptors to concede the game, I suggested a 13-point lead against a shaky Nets team wasn’t all that, and that we were down because of our doing more than anything.  Sure enough, a few defensive stops, a Patterson three, a Lowry driving And-1 and this was a game, right before the above sequence transpired.

The Raptors stormed back and that has to give them an emotional boost heading into Game 4.  I doubt that had any doubts about beating the Nets, but any that may have crept in during that inept second and third quarters, were surely washed away with how the game ended.  For Patterson, his Nick Andersonish finish to the game could have an impact on his psyche for the rest of the series, or it could fire him up to no end.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Stretches of good play isn’t going to win us this series.  At some point we’ll have to put together a couple good games in a row, or at least back-to-back halves where turnovers are low, DeMar DeRozan isn’t hogging the offense – he took 33% of the team’s shots, compared to 22% in the regular season.  That’s not going to win us games, it’s going to take away from the team-oriented offense that’s been so successful this season and turn this into the DeMar DeRozan show, which looks an awful lot like the Rudy Gay show.  It’s not surprising that the Raptors only had 18 assists to their 17 turnovers on a night where the offense, other than the first quarter, was cringeworthy.  You can laud DeRozan for his great, individual play in the fourth which saw him get to the line 5 times (15 in the game); I’d argue that he wouldn’t need to resort to such heroics if we planned our offense in a more balanced manner.

I still can’t understand the people who want Amir Johnson guarding Paul Pierce.  Johnson is a wreck, he is completely out of our defensive rotations because he’s hanging around on the perimeter protecting the three, when we’re getting slaughtered in the paint on drives.  On offense, he’s an afterthought because he’s generally a defense-fuels-offense guy, and since the defense isn’t there, neither is the offense (he did miss a couple threes tonight_.  I would at least flirt with the idea of matching the Nets with Patterson, and switching Johnson to the bench against Plumlee.

You can point to the missed FTs (29-37 FT), the turnovers (17), or any other statistic to paint how sputtering the Raptors offense was and what they might need to do better. Letting this Nets team shoot 49% for the game (and well over 50% in some quarters) is a slightly harder problem to fix because sometimes you’re only as strong as you’re weakest link and the Raptors have two in their lineup – DeRozan and Ross.  DeRozan cannot guard anyone on any part of the floor, and Ross is too thin for Pierce or Johnson, leaving him to be a liability more than an asset (thus you’re seeing Fields and Salmons).  The side-effect of this is that we’re desperately missing Ross’s three-point shooting and how he spreads the floor, further congesting the space for Lowry and DeRozan.  The Nets love to collapse the paint and right now there’s nobody there to punish them for it.  Maybe Novak, but I can’t imagine what Pierce or Johnson might do to the poor guy if he catches wind of the court.

The Nets picked apart the Raptors confusion on defense with incisive passing, often between bigs.  The defensive spacing was never tuned and the Raptors got basic man-ball-rim things wrong, along with constantly losing Johnson on the wing who drilled enough threes and administered enough fakes for lean-ins, that you wondered if he was game-planned for at all.

The defense for the better part of this game resembled Game 1 more than Game 2, and I feel that this Raptors team is having a very difficult time figuring out how to defend the permanent mismatch on the floor as substitutes and rotations kick in.  Casey will need to simplify matters here so Ross can stay on the court, Johnson’s strengths are utilized (one pick ‘n roll all night), and DeRozan isn’t put in compromising situations time after time.    Easier said than done.  The management of Valanciunas’ minutes and touches is becoming an issue, but do keep in mind that he was a bit hobbled in the second half as well.  Let’s hope Casey recognizes that starving and shackling the man who can ask the toughest questions of the Nets isn’t a good idea, no matter what the lineup on the floor.  For starters, perhaps consider having him rebounding on FTs when an offensive rebound is desperately sought, like it was on that Patterson missed free throw.

It’s a loss, somehow I still feel that the way they closed this game strengthens their belief that they can win this series.  The referees were decisive in this game, the technical call on Vasquez was huge (and silly of Vasquez as well) and ended up equating to the Raptors not having a chance to tie the game on the final play.  That is potentially deterministic of a series outcome, and even talking about it leaves a sour taste so I will defer that discussion.

On a side note, my hate for the Nets grows leaps and bounds.  This is truly a rivalry, and I look forward to silencing their USA, USA chants on Sunday.  This series is there to be had – this was more of a question before Game 1, but is now a statement.

On to pivotal Game 4.

  • Z- Rap- Money

    FUCK KG, FUCK THE REFS and FUCKKKKK BROOKLYN! Those Cheating Bombaclats!!

    • Rapchat

      HAHAHHAHAHA….yeah boy.

  • Z- Rap- Money

    Shout out to Landry Fields!

  • matthew nelson

    Turning point for me was that joe johnson step back three where his pushed his defender 6 feet off of him with a violent stiff arm. The team plays better with fields guarding Johnson. It’s night and day.

    • Rapchat

      Agree man. First half Johnson was limited by LF. No LF in the 3rd. Johnson went off.

  • rapierraptor

    Great write up, Zarar. The bit about Alan Anderson getting frisky with Marcus Thornton was hilarious. I’m hoping that Patterson takes solace in the fact that Brooklyn shot even worse from the line down the stretch and doesn’t let the missed shots affect his game moving forward. By and large, he played very well last night.

  • mountio

    Basketball is simple. We dont have players that a) demand a double team or b) can beat their man off the dribble. When that is the case, its very, very difficult to win consistently in the playoffs. We play our asses off on defense (even though our “schemes” arent great and we have a bunch of gamers … but that can only get you so far.
    As much as everyone is calling for TR to not play at all (and dont get me wrong, hes been awful) – the only way we succeed is for him, JV, DD and KL to be at their peak offensively. For better or for worse, we HAVE to ride him and hope he either starts hitting shots or gets some transition buckets and (most unlikely, but you never know) actually beats his man off the dribble and creates some open shots.
    You watch our offense right now, and we are struggling, passing the ball around the three point line and hoping to make something happen in the last 5 seconds. Its a miracle if we can pull out any playoff games playing like that …

    • Rapchat

      You are right. We simply need TR’s offence. He is our only starter to not score his avg yet. If he did in any game, there is a good chance we’re up 3-0 or 2-1 at least. We have to ride him no question. Plus in the long run, if we ride him and lose, a) he will gain confidence that DC stuck with him, b) he will know that we lost because of him. A tough lesson but one that could spark a brilliant future if he took that personally this off season.

  • Heyjoe

    Greivis said in a post game interview that he didn’t use any curse words. He didn’t want to talk much about the refs though cause fines and all.

  • KJ-B

    I for one had the Raptors penciled in to lose this one before it began. Let’s just say the NBA has a little WWE “management style” in it–shoutouts to Tim Donaghy!

    However, the Raptors needed THIS. Yes, you must lose to win. PERIOD.

    This Game 3 loss is the one that will teach us to not depend on the refs, the league, matchups, Nothing. Play your best game every minute, every second, every play and possession of the game.

    Casey has to ride DeMar Dozen like Secretariat. He’s 24 and can rest in the summer–end of 2 quarter–why not put him back in when it was falling apart–wrong time to be arrogant about “your rotation Dwane”…wrong time!

  • NikolaTesla1

    DD looked good in the 2nd quarter, making my criticism of him last game a bit over the top (i still stand by my claim he wasn’t the hero some were making him out to be but if he can play like he did the 2q he will deserve those heroic headlines).

    He has certainly made big strides this year but I think the article did a good job of pointing out that the ball was just in his hands too much last night. That’s not a knock against DD but a knock against the game plan and would probably be true for any team in this league. Again Zarar points out the problem, in that this is not how the team got to the playoffs and not how they have been successful this year.

    I think we may have more turnovers than assist this series, that’s just not a winning formula.

    Also, I’m getting tired of the complaining about the refs. One could make the case that the refs allowed the Raps to get back into this game just as much as they screwed the Raps over in the last couple minutes.

    *Lowry did foul Livingston, he got him on the right arm as he was going up.

    • Rapchat

      Agreed. We got some sweet ass calls FOR us as well. Just not in the last minute which still pisses me off. I also agree that DD had the ball too much but I honestly think it was out of necessity. After Lowry tweaked his knee we sputtered hard and DD alone brought it back for us. It’s hard to criticize for me. Also, It’s kind of hard to play that “team offence” when the team is turning it over 20 times a game, but I agree that’s what we need.

  • database_666

    QUESTION: NBA website had a link for ‘contact us’ and then, ‘comment on nba officiating’. is anyone aware of a similar inbox we could send protests and offer evidence on blatant and criminal bias refs showed in this game??? i could not believe all the calls they called for nets in general, bailing pierce, garnett, and the rest alike on almost every possession, while on the other side, they thought it was perfectly ok for brooklyn to pull hands, hold arms, lock knees, and what not. subpar league even by bush league standards.

  • cdub

    we aren’t out of it but losses like this are usually the difference between moving on and going home. DC coached a poor game. DeMar took way too many bad shots. We didn’t get this far trying to play hero ball. I like the ball in his hands when he isn’t turning it over as he attracts so much attention but dude has to pass. There was one play early on where Amir rolled to the basket and was WIDE OPEN and Demar just looked him off. He just looked like a guy trying to get his own shot off last night to me. I like the aggressiveness and getting to the line you need that in playoff games. Don’t need the wasted possessions where the ball doesn’t move and long 2’s. 8-22 is not good enough.

  • Kev

    from what i see in the nets forum:
    “There is NO way raptor fans can be complaining about reffing that game. They were handed everything in the final 5 minutes. The reffing in 2 + 3rd quarter were fair.”
    laughed with a big fcking LOL

    • RPT23

      I don’t even check their forums anymore. Pure crap if you ask me. Just a waste of data to even think about their forums.

      • Guest

        Spot on. While I don’t agree with the majority of the basketball related commentary and opinions from most fans, there is an attempt both here and at Raptors HQ to talk about basketball with some level of sophistication. Whenever I get linked to other teams forums its like 400 memes in a row.

  • DandB

    Look we got shafted by the refs, but I am going to say that until Dwane Casey figures out how to stop JJ (who’s shooting 60 fucking percent in the series, after going 45% on the season), we deserve these losses, and they’re all on Coach. Johnson is not fucking unstoppable, but he is with the way we play him.

    • Kev

      I hate JJ driving in and then making that soft monkey floater. I saw that basket at least 15 times this series.

      • DandB

        Yeah I have no clue how we keep allowing that.
        If he posts up, then we’ve got legit problems. But if he’s facing up on the defender, he should NOT be blowing by anybody. We’re overplaying him, and he blows right by our D with that fucking floater.

        • noname

          when landry fields guards him, he doesn’t pull any of that shit. I honestly think landry should start instead of ross and ppat should start instead of amir because they will do a better job of guarding pierce and JJ, then that could force the nets to go big, to which you could put amir in to teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget. Plus the fact that ross loses his spot in the starting 5 could motivate him. But knowing how stubborn casey is, that’s not gonna happen. Ugh I have a bad feeling about game 4.

          • SicknTired

            Not going to happen even though its the right line up change. Masai and Casey are not going to limit the experience that Ross is getting for the sake of making it to the next round to likely get swept by miami.
            They have also said “development of players” and to sit our up and coming 2nd year swing man to just win an extra game, its not going to happen.

            • Icarus Descending

              I think Ross getting 20 to 25 min off the bench where he actually gets to take some shots and not get torched with a mismatch on D would be better experience for him than 20 to 25 min starting where he never sees the ball and gets destroyed by Johnson.

          • Icarus Descending

            Absolutely the right starting lineup right there. Shocked if we actually see it though.

            • Kev

              I agree, but at the same time, changing up starting line ups can do 2 things
              1. Bring down Ross and Amir’s confidence down even more
              2. Show the nets that we are under panic and give them more confidence.

      • as

        thats blatantly racist

        • Kev

          i didnt mean it to be racist – but the move looks like a monkey grabbing a banana

    • Moe

      Its hard to STOP him when whoever gaurds him get called for tick tack fouls

  • Kev

    Rather than having 4-5 of us rebound the ball while the nets are backing off to their own half (I really see no one else trying to O-reb other than Plumlee or Blatche), why dont we have lowry/vasquez camped near the half court line and profusely make the nets run? I have no idea how to run those plays, but I would really like to see the bench run that, to tire the hell out of these nets.

  • Kev

    1. Raptors have to work on the refs to stop making nonsense calls on our bigs especially JV (I honestly believe this cost us the game more than anything) early on.
    2. We need to run. I sincerely hope that the team isn’t gassed.
    3. Screen and shoot-3 plays are required. Get JV + 2Pat to screen, while lowry or vasquez fires. Want to add Ross’ name here but he’s going to take a while until he develops into a playoff starter.
    4. We turn over the ball even when we take pace slow. Our pace = Nets pace. So increase pace by 20-30% and if this leads to turn overs, so be it. A lot higher chance when someone dashes into the nets defense to draw fouls. All I have noticed was that the nets take 3-4 seconds to form a defense pattern that is hard to penetrate, and had the raptors ran, it can be broken down quickly.

    • Kkb003

      Yeah man wtf is up w/ our pgs walking up the floor?

  • godson82

    To much iso on offence, Demar shouldn’t have to score 30 per game for us to be in it. During the regular season the ball moved quickly from side to side creating shooting opportunities, now were stuck in an iso offence that forces players to take tough shots at the end of the shot clock. Vasquez running the point is a good look because he is finding open players, but we need T Ross to find his shot, we need to establish a post presence by running more plays for JV, and we need to double Joe Johnson a lot quicker every time he touches the ball. JJ can’t get 3 dribbles into tge paint and then we double, it has to come earlier.

  • CJT

    There were blown calls. BUT why is no one talking about the half assed effort the Raps played on D for the first 3 and a half quarters? Did you see the intensity they played with for the last half of the 4th? Where has that been all series? That is the difference in this series, not the refs. That is what our playoff lives depend on, not relying on calls to even out the score.

  • RPT23

    I’m absolutely convinced that the Nets didn’t beat the Raptors, the Raptors beat the Raptors. As evident with the ability to come back from a deficit late in the game and just score at will and play some type of passable defense when they need to. It’s all about effort. Why oh why do we have to wait until midway through the 4th quarter to do something.

    Conspiracy Theories:
    = JV was in foul trouble because the refs knew if he went off the Nets would lose. =P
    = Refs thought they did a good job of being “fair” with their foul calls but in the end had to make a name for themselves by making absurd, blown calls in the favor of the Nets that changed the tide of the game. This is the playoffs, emotions run high. If everything think that the playoffs is a “new beast” so the refs should know that as well.

    The crowd at the Barclays center was a mere gathering of sorts, of people at an art gallery. The chant of USA, USA? haha some real insecure chants if you ask me. If they chanted, WeTheSouth, I’d be more impressed. I don’t think they really prepared for the playoffs as much as the Raptors fans and market team did.

    I too am emotionally invested to this team in the post season. We have the best fan base in the NBA, bar none.

  • Josh

    The USA chant is absolutely despicable. Really Nets fans, how ignorant can you be? The majority of our players are american, not to mention the mob boss himself who pays your fat cheques is Russian. Give me a break.
    And just to prove my point even further, there were apparently very audible boos during the botching of the Canadian national anthem. That’s just pathetic.

    • RPT23

      true, but I don’t want to make this about national pride or anything because I know there are a lot of americans (mainly my friends down south) who aren’t immature and ignorant so i won’t even get into that. we just have the best fans in the league, no questions about that.

      the raptors are basically shooting themselves in the foot by “allowing” the Nets to get their buckets. I remember someone commented on how the Nets make it look so easy to get their buckets while the Raptors look like they had to make an insurmountable effort just to get their shots off. sure, the Nets played pretty decent defense on the Raps but we still haven’t been up to par with how we can play. And guess what, we’re still in the game from 00:00 to 48:00 mins. This series isn’t over yet and I expect DC to get the team amp’d up for Sunday, game 4.

      Game 4 is going to be a Raptor win. A blow out I’m predicting.

    • Moe

      Its america, what did u expect? Most act like they are the center of the world.

    • Guest

      Idk. Honestly, which organization made this about nationalism with their hashtag, promo video and national symbols on their shirts? Which org. and their fans disrespected a city and not the team which would have been acceptable. How do you know Prokhorov is a mob boss? Because he’s Russian that makes the Nets a Russian team? That’s not ignorant, just stupid. Passion for the team is commendable, but keep it on the team and use your brain for important things.

      • Kev

        I think saying Fuck brooklyn is pretty much the same thing.
        Whatever, as long as it excites the crowd, I think they can say whatever they want.
        On a sidenote: F##k brooklyn!

        • Guest

          Ok Kev, the org. and fans can say whatever we want but just accept it cuts both ways. Go Raps!

      • Guest

        Most of the recent Russian Oligarchs are thieving bastards who stole their wealth when the curtain collapsed. So yes, Prokhorov is definitely running heavy mob game. They just legalized in the new Russia.

  • Andre

    I think the real crippling moment of this game was when the refs called JV on that loose ball foul for his 3rd foul relatively early in the 2nd. JV has been the reason for the Raptors dominance on the boards and inside and the refs took that away from the Raps. That was an atrocious call either way, when you watch it again it was Garnett who shoved JV into Pierce, who was also holding JV and took him down with him as well.

  • frh

    Fantastic article as always Arsenalist.

  • RPT23

    Can’t anyone tell me why we haven’t employed DC’s vaunted Zone Defense yet? Have the Raptors been using it? At least just to spell their current defensive set and to throw something new into the game!

    • DDayLewis

      Because the Nets are a really good three point shooting team

      • RPT23

        Judging from our current defensive set, we’re giving them way to much space and closing out real bad. We’re getting burned to the bucket is all I’m saying. Maybe we’re going to have to trap the ball handler when it comes to PnR defense or properly hedge hard…

        • DDayLewis

          Trouble with that is our best trapping big man is Amir, and he’s tied up with Pierce on the perimeter.

          The Nets like to PnR with Garnett/Plumlee as the screener. This means Valanciunas would set the trap, but help defense would have to come from all the way out from the perimeter. This is an issue because Ross and DeRozan have both been minus defenders, and the remaining player is Amir, who needs to be fully healthy before he can effectively help, while still managing to recover.

          So in short, the Nets have us checkmated in this scenario

          • RPT23

            thanks for the reply on that note. I hadn’t taken to account amir’s not exactly 100% right now (has he ever been though?). though it appears the Nets do have us checkmate, I’m really looking forward to seeing what DC has in response. He’s got to.

            • DDayLewis

              Casey can only work with what he has. The roster has limited flexibility.

          • Abused Raptors Fan

            While you are correct about the Nets shooting proficiency, they aren’t beating us with their shooting (consider their 3pt shooting). Its been the ability of their guards/wings to get into the paint that has done the most damage. That also sets up their long range game as a lot of their jumpers are set up through dribble-drive penetration and our poor rotations on our double teams. If we utilized a zone defense, we would have better coverage on their jump shooters and an easier time containing JJ, especially since our players wouldn’t get their rotations so confused as our bigs would be positioned more tradionally in the paint. I think it’d also help us get the most out of Amir, as he’d be able to quarterback the D and provide his excellent help D, which would hopefully energize his offensive production.
            Now, I’m not saying the Raptors should play zone the entire game, but it would be foolish not to try it given our desparate situation and how much they’ve struggled on D at times. Also, getting our D going is absolutely essential, as this team really thrives when its forcing turnovers as it allows them to push the pace and get into their offensive sets before the Nets can get their D setup.

  • The Thrush

    So you have 32 vs 31 fouls, identical ft 29-37 but we blame the refs. Patterson fts came from a foul called that wan’t there as well. You are playing away end you get the opportunity to shoot 37 ft and you tell me the Refs deliberately gave the game to Brooklyn. That’s the loser excuse, no news here.

    • tank

      Sorry to say that your theory is flawed. If i come out push and shove u all game and we have the same amount of fouls then something is wrong. The nets are grabbing, holding and shoving yet the fouls are exact same. Something wrong.

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Personally, I think its a bit odd that both teams shot almost the exact same number of free throws in all 3 games and also committed the same number of fouls. In almost seems as though the refs were covering their asses by keeping everything even, regardless of what happens on court. And, while its all well and good to try and keep calls even, the fact remains that such balanced play rarely happens in the regular season, let alone in the playoffs – especially over 3 games in a row!

    • Kev

      I would gladly even the foul spread to 32 or whatever the nets got evenly across players.
      For the raptors this was the problem.
      1. Big men were gone early from foul trouble, and prevented any sort of post dominance right from Q1. At least 2 of foul calls on JV were questionable at best.
      2. Unless you smack someone in the head, no ref should ever call a tech like they did on Vasquez.
      3. Lowry was fouled out at a crucial point.
      4. A lot of legitimate fouls on Brooklyn were counter-opposed to nonsense foul calls on the Raptors.
      If you really want to analyze each and every foul call, watch the entire game. It is very hard to tell these small differences because of the number of foul calls being even, but these fouls were called in a very timely manner just like time-outs being called at the right time.

  • Tinman

    Raptors had no business being in the game at the end.
    Probably the maddest I’ve been all year at this club.
    That tease during last 5 minutes makes it all so bitter. Why wait until minute 43 for Raptor basketball?
    Reinforces belief that series can be won? Sure. We win tomorrow and we got home court back.
    Fuck Brooklyn.

    • RPT23

      I like the answer to all things Brooke-Lin

      F### Em’.

  • Devin

    don’t forget the charge called on vasquez or lowry (can’t remember) where the guys foot was so obviously on the restricted circle. would have had a wide open patterson jumper.

  • Hassan Mehmood Khan

    If raps loose this series because of officiating then we need boycott the NBA

    • CJT

      What is they continue to lose because they don’t play well, what then? We haven’t gotten calls all year, why would we now? It’s time to stop pretending that this is why we are losing these games. Our defensive effort has been soft for most of the series, ball movement has all but stopped etc. Focus on that.

      • Hassan Mehmood Khan

        We are very evenly matched with the nets .our team maybe a bit better . in these type of matchups the refs game altering decision make a huge difference

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  • Icarus Descending

    I’d like to see Amir come off the bench for JV, that way he could actually protect the rim which is his major strength on D. Start Patman at the 4.

    For this series, Start Fields at the 3 and bring Ross off the bench. Ross should be a focus on offence for the second unit.

    DD needs to stop being so selfish on offence, JV needs to be the focus on offence whenever he’s on the floor, if he actually got more shots then DD when both are on the floor I would be ecstatic.

    JV and Ross need to be looked for consistently on offence. They are key to the playoff success and more importantly the future of the team.

  • Kkb003

    How about a man vs. Man rotation to counter the opponent ? I.e. fields vs. Jj, 2pat vs. Pp, Jv vs. Kg, etc. ?

  • michelle

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  • michelle

    WAoo THANK YOU DR.AYE for reviving me back to life MY name is cynthian mark from U S A.join me thank DR.AYE for bringing me bacK to life for the pass two years i was an HIV positive i have been see some spell caster on net i never belive them, then i shelled my problem to my friend on facebook he then introduce me to a spell caster called DR.AYE i told my friend that i don’t belive them and he told me how meny people he has introduse to DR.AYE for some problem to cure then i relie on him to cure my HIV dr.aye told me to have patiance that there is no problem without soluion he then told me to come back in a week time, on friday night of it then i fet desy the nest morring i was about to urinate he called and ask me if i have urinate i told him yes, he told me that it has pass true it. that was the last day i went for HIV treatment we both solve things out p/s if any problem email .AYE [email protected] do email ok

  • michelle

    WAoo THANK YOU DR.AYE for reviving me back to life MY name is cynthian mark from U S A.join me thank DR.AYE for bringing me bacK to life for the pass two years i was an HIV positive i have been see some spell caster on net i never belive them, then i shelled my problem to my friend on facebook he then introduce me to a spell caster called DR.AYE i told my friend that i don’t belive them and he told me how meny people he has introduse to DR.AYE for some problem to cure then i relie on him to cure my HIV dr.aye told me to have patiance that there is no problem without soluion he then told me to come back in a week time, on friday night of it then i fet desy the nest morring i was about to urinate he called and ask me if i have urinate i told him yes, he told me that it has pass true it. that was the last day i went for HIV treatment we both solve things out p/s if any problem email .AYE [email protected]

  • Sahardeed Mohamed

    The only reason why Demar is taking all these shots is because besides lowry and Vasquez, no one else is creating shots for themselves. I don’t know why ppl hate on DD so much when he’s clearly trying to produce. And all this talk of JV should get more touches is nonsense, he’s already committing too many turnovers as it is, right now he’s playing perfect for a second year player trying to make the leap.

    My suggestion for game three is to put in feilds in the starting lineup, for Amir and have him guard JJ. Demar can at least stay in front of PPierce. And by having Amir in the second unit, we don’t have to see hansbrough getting any minutes.

  • some random guy

    Raptors haven’t played a Great game yet. When they do the series will break open. And secondly, need Psyco T to throw garnett to the floor like he did JV last year. hah