Reaction: Nets 104, Raptors 103 – Game 7 – Opportunity Blown

The Raptors just weren't prepared enough to have a chance in Game 7. They came back late but the Nets took it, and rightfully so. Season over.

Brooklyn Nets104FinalRecap | Box Score103Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 22 MIN | 9-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -5Came to the sudden realization that he’s being guarded by a 6’7” guy and, guess what, shot over him in the block and it worked! Who knew? He got us off to a great start until his injuries and fouls caught up to him. I say injuries and fouls because it’s his injury that leads to fouls. How do I know he’s injured? He makes a point of wearing the “I’m injured but playing through it face” at all times. Fouled out because he has trouble staying on his feet, landed on Joe Johnson’s legs for his fifth after the play was over. Kudos for the game, horrible series otherwise.  I can’t help but think how this series would’ve turned out if he played like this this consistently.  Good season overall for him, just ended on a sour note.

Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | 0Does the occasion get to him or what? He started his NBA career looking like he didn’t belong and came around to become a decent three-point shooter. He started his playoff career looking like he belonged in the D-League, so I’m hoping history, sort of, repeats itself here. If he only had had a mediocre series, we’d have won in 5 or 6 games. He wasn’t god-awful in this game, but missed a HUGE three in the third which would’ve cut the lead to 3 and potentially changed the game. Defensively, quite ineffective on close-outs and in isolation situations, but had a huge steal at the end which gave us a chance to tie win it.  The progress he made this season has to be considered a success.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -23FREEJV? Or is it #FREEJV? Or how about boxing out your man in a clear-out situation? Chose to have a stinker of epic proportions where his finishing near the rim was poor, his defense against Blatche and Garnett non-existent, and his court awareness nil. He was the worst big man in the game when he’s supposed to be a key advantage. I get they’re not running plays for you, but you have to find other way to contribute on both ends. He didn’t.

Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 7-19 FG | 12-14 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 28 PTS | +7I commend him for trying, not giving up, and playing hard. That’s the #1 requirement for a game like this and he brought it. Again, with everyone else not doing anything of note, Lowry was left to go one-on-one too many times which hurt the team and the offensive balance. If you watched this game, then you know that you were totally OK with him, if he wanted to, go one-on-one every single time in the fourth quarter. That’s what the Raptors did on the last play and it burned them. Hope he re-signs, not holding my breath, though.  I do want him back, he’s the personality and player I’d like leading this team.

DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 45 MIN | 5-12 FG | 7-7 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +2Remember Game 1 DeMar? Think that, only 10 times worse. People keep telling me that it’s OK for him to shoot jumpers because “that’s his game”. Well, pardon me, but that’s asinine because contested jumpers are exactly what the Nets prefer him to do. Even if he hits 50% of them, it’s still what the Nets want. He was passive, didn’t drive, and preferred to pass the ball to Patrick Patterson rather than put his mark on the game. Defensively, he’s awful, beyond awful. He’s poor in help, close-out, one-on-one, and just about every other defensive situation and everybody seems to give him a pass. This summer should be all about defense. Nothing else. If we had started Nando De Colo ahead of him, our chances of winning this game would have improved.  Sorry for the negativity, but I thought he bungled things up large.

Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 5-5 FG | 6-6 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +14Burned by Joe Johnson in single coverage in the fourth quarter, that’s ultimately what he’ll be remembered for. Had a tidy offensive game, but he’s not the guy I was relying on today, so I have no large complaints. For me, he did his job well (except for that one-on-one D on JJ, which really isn’t his job as a PF).

Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4Came into the game in the fourth after Casey realized that he wasn’t going to get anything from Valanciunas. Did his thing relatively well, but why we’re relying on poor Hayes in Game 7 of a playoff series speaks to larger problems. We knew we had an issue at the backup big at the deadline and did nothing. Sure, him trying to score against a taller Blatche in the fourth quarter killed me, but that was more reflective of the overall state of our offense more than anything.

John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -10I don’t think a player has ever aggravated me more than him – not only is he shitty at everything, his face gives the impression that he’s totally OK with it. Other than the initial few games after he got acquired, that “veteran presence” that he’s always lauded for has never been seen, yet Casey goes back to him with the predictability of a clock.

Landry Fields, SF Shot Chart 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2He’s healthy as per reports from Eric Koreen and Ryan Wolstat, yet he does not seem to even be even considered as a candidate to guard Joe Johnson, when in fact he did a fantastic job of it in Game 2. Boggles the mind.

Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +8Was guarding Joe Johnson one-on-one in the first half as part of Casey’s master plan of confusing everyone defensively. Got in foul trouble, got frustrated, swore at Joey Crawford, had a poor game running the offense. The two-guard lineup which usually works so well was dysfunctional today and it was because there was no offensive plan of getting key players involved.  Still, he’s a solid backup point who was stellar all series as far as I’m concerned.

Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart Has not entered game MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Nando no play. Nando sad. Nando feel he could’ve helped team in a series where ball-handling was a premium.

Dwane Casey
To illustrate just how unorganized our defense is, let me point to two examples: JV somehow closing out on Alan Anderson after a Joe Johnson double and pass. JV, after a timeout, ends up guarding Pierce one-on-one to end the quarter. How does that happen? Our rotations have been so whack and unorganized that, quite literally, we have different players closing out the same Net in sequential possessions. Nobody knows who has to cover who on the rotation, and it had resulted in guys like Thornton killing us! His refusal to play Landry Fields has to go down in Raptors history as one of the silliest thing ever, right along with Darrell Walker benching Tracy McGrady (I realize, different player, but same level of perplexity). He was unable to counter Joe Johnson AT ALL, and that’s basically the only guy on the Nets you have to counter. Just what coaching he did in this entire series is well beyond my levels of comprehension. I’ve been his backer from day one, but, oh man, does he need help with the clipboard! And to top it off, he’s a defensive coach? That last play where we had a chance to win it – was there any plan there other than giving it to Lowry and praying?

Five Things We Saw

  1. Terrence Ross’s steal after we were playing the FT game gave us a chance to win the game, and the play that ensued was Lowry going 1-on-3. Was he fouled on the play? It looked like it, I didn’t catch the replay as I just turned the TV off.
  2. The Raptors were killed on the offensive boards by a team that simply wanted it more. There is no reason why the Nets should be killing us in that category, other than lack of effort/focus. The fourth quarter offensive rebounds, and the time it took off the clock, doomed us.
  3. Defensively, there was either little or very ineffective coaching done. It required two simple passes out of a Joe Johnson double-team for the Nets to get a wide open look every single time. How does that happen consistently over seven games?
  4. Full credit to Dwane Casey for effectively using a small-ball lineup in the last three minutes of the game……FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE SERIES WHEN I WAS BEGGING FOR IT BEFORE GAME 1.
  5. Referring was bad at times, but sorry, I felt we should’ve won this game despite all that. We were simply not prepared to counter the Nets’ strengths.  I apologize, but right now I’m too emotionally charged to see the positives of the season.  Give us till tomorrow.