Notebook: Nets 94, Raptors 87
April 20, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
NBA PRESS RELEASE
THE FACT: The Brooklyn Nets beat the Toronto Raptors to take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
THE LEAD: Paul Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, including multiple jumpers in the final moments, to help seal a 94-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series at the Air Canada Centre.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson poured in 24 points apiece while Shaun Livingston added 10 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Nets, who withstood a Raptors rally in the fourth to pull away for the win.
Kyle Lowry led the way for the Toronto with 22 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and Jonas Valanciunas came up big with 17 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.
QUOTABLE: "You just get that feeling in the game and I've been in those situations a number of times. You know, I don't get rattled in fourth quarters or down the stretch in playoff settings. I've been in pretty much every playoff setting that you can imagine so I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game and just try to compose the rest of the guys and I thought we did a great job today. But the most important thing, I thought we did a great job defensively. It wasn't about our offense, even though we executed; the defense was great tonight in the fourth quarter."
THE STAT: The Nets won the turnover battle in a big way, forcing the Raptors to cough up the ball 17 times and only committing eight.
TURNING POINT: At 5:15 of the fourth quarter, Grievis Vasquez hit a 3-pointer to give the Raptors their first lead of the period. The Nets responded immediately, going on a 7-0 run capped off by a Pierce 3-pointer that ended a streak of 19 straight misses from beyond the 3-point arc for the Nets. Brooklyn held the lead the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE II: "Stats just told us a stat where we are 13-0 when we hold teams under 40 per cent. So anytime you do that you give yourself a chance to win because we didn't shoot the ball well from three tonight, but we made up for it with effort, taking care of the ball, good defense down the stretch and making plays offensively. That is why we got the win."
HOT: After dropping 24 points on Saturday, Joe Johnson has now reached double figures in scoring 18 of his last 19 games.
HOT: Valanciunas had set a Raptors franchise record with 18 rebounds. Keon Clark held the previous record of 16. Valanciunas came into the playoffs hot, averaging 16.8 points and 11 rebounds in eight games during the month of April.
NOT: In his first career playoff game, DeMar DeRozan struggled mightily, making just three of his 13 shots. DeRozan has struggled from the floor down the stretch of the season. He shot 47-113 (41.7 percent) in his last seven games. During that time he's still managed 22 points per game.
QUOTABLE III: "I thought we played a little bit as expected as it is our first playoff game. I thought we took ourselves out; we got in some ticky-tac foul trouble. I thought that took us out. I thought that bothered [Terrence Ross] a little bit when he got into foul trouble, DeMar [DeRozan] got two quick fouls and mentally I thought that affected us a little bit. But as bad as we played, we put ourselves in position to win, and that's the approach we have to take. The series is now at only one game, there is a lot of basketball to be played. We got the kinks out of the playoff atmosphere, and now we have to go back and clean up the 19 turnovers."
GOOD MOVE: The Nets went to the pick-and-roll with both Williams and Johnson down the stretch. This afforded Pierce a number of open looks, which he drained to help ice the game for the Nets.
ROOKIE WATCH: Nets forward Mason Plumlee had two points and three rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
NOTABLE: Valanciunas became the second Raptor ever to record a double-double in his playoff debut. The first was Tracy McGrady. ... Midway through the third quarter, the Air Canada Centre ran into technical difficulties that rendered the shot and game clocks unusable. For the remainder of the game, the shot clock was counted down by Toronto's in arena announcer. ...The final attendance at the ACC was 18,900 (sellout).
UP NEXT: Game 2 is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.