Quick Reaction: Nets 94, Raptors 87 – Game 1

9 mins read

Brooklyn Nets 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
87 Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -12

Got predictably torn apart by Pierce in the first, as Casey chose to stick with the two-big lineup, at least to start. There was a shocking paucity of pick ‘n roll play with him going at Pierce, or anyone for that matter. Instead, we saw him get a post-up 20-feet out which ended up in a turnover. He’s a guy who feeds off of others, and when others aren’t doing their thing, his production takes a dip. He’s been getting a lot of love in the press lately, which I thought was a bit over the top. I expected him to at least come out with the same energy as Lowry, but nothing doing.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -1

I can forgive his first foul to jitters but the second was silly (knowing he already had one) and the third (picked up on a late rotation) was downright unforgivable. It also meant that we saw way too much of John Salmons which should be punishable by jail-time. Defensively, got stuck on Johnson’s hips too often and did a poor job of dealing with Deron Williams on switches for the most part.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 18 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 17 PTS | -17

We got him involved from the outset which was great as he was key to digging us out of that early 12-point lead. He missed some makeable shots off of offensive rebounds and pick ‘n rolls, but overall a solid game. Was placed in help situations on Joe Johnson where he didn’t fare well, but then again Johnson is a pro.

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 44 MIN | 7-18 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 22 PTS | -12

Amazing, what can I even say? Unfazed by the occasion and playing at full-steam for every second he was in there. Without him this is a blowout. That is all. Emotionally, he was at a different level than his teammates and has to feel aggrieved at their efforts.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 37 MIN | 3-13 FG | 8-8 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -10

Shaun Livingston had him in a straitjacket and made Vince Carter’s playoff debut look awesome. The shaky dribble was accompanied by timidity which meant his suspect ball-handling kept him strictly on the perimeter, and once he missed his first couple jumpers, he missed makeable shots too. He turned into a black-hole, not because he was ball-hogging but because his lack of dribbling skills hampered him from escaping even mild-mannered Nets traps. Also, any offensive play which started as DeRozan as the ball-handler was doomed.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +7

I thought he’d be used a bit more in a small-ball lineup, but nothing doing.

Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5

Did well to supply energy off the bench and neutralize Pierce early, but struggled guarding him late. He’s obviously the guy we have to go with in a small-ball lineup, but when you’re looking at him to save you, there’s something else wrong (ahem, DeRozan). Offensively, I thought he was adequate and relatively composed given the occasion.

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3

Was given some playing time so that JV could be spelled a rest. Boxed out adequately on a defensive possession.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9

OK, since he’s basically an offensive void I’m going to assume his job is to defend. Therefore, I’m to judge him on two things: 1) his defense which was quite poor and didn’t serve to slow down Williams or Johnson, and 2) his veteran steadiness, which was non-existent because every time he dribbles the ball I have to take Zantac for my heartburn. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not sure what he does well, if anything. I’m sure things will turn for the better (they can’t get much worse), but in this game he was null and void.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +8

Solid game for a guy who’s getting his playoff feet wet. Composed on offense and even forced some turnovers on defense (one through a backcourt trap!). Yes, some of those shots aggravated you to no end, however, consider that DeRozan and Ross were flops and the situation almost demanded that he try to carry more of the load.

Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3

Another guy who I would’ve liked to have seen more in a small-ball lineup, given how poorly our offense was functioning.

Dwane Casey

Too late to react to the Pierce/Johnson matchup and unable to get DeRozan steadied through some set plays. The guy obviously needed help and Casey saw it fit to start possessions with DeRozan ball-handling – not good. Recognized that the Raptors needed to help on Joe Johnson too late (in the second half, believe it or not) which burned us and got Johnson going.

Five Things We Saw

  1. It should concern you that the Nets won this despite not being at their best. We’ll see a lot of coverage of how DeRozan and Johnson were absent, but so were Anderson, Teletovic and others.
  2. No fouls were called on the Nets in the fourth quarter, which is unreal because there was a lot of contact on multiple plays there.
  3. What bugs me is that we were beaten by predictable issues – Joe Johnson overpowering our wings, the Johnson/Pierce matchup, and Livingston’s unique advantage. There didn’t seem to be a plan in place to deal with any of this.
  4. As much as I hate Paul Pierce, the guy is a clutch dude that you can clear out for and you know you’re going to get a high-percentage look with the game on the line. The only guy we can do that with is Kyle Lowry, and it’s difficult for PGs (due to height, role) be that kind of guy.
  5. Our half-court sets were brutal, partly due to 60% of the starting lineup out taking a piss, but part also because we were forced to play in the half-court by the Nets, which is to their advantage. The good news is that despite all that, we were in the game and if we can repeat the defensive effort, and just figure out how to get average production from Ross, DeRozan and Johnson, maybe we have a shouting chance.

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