Nets, Raptors dog fight continues at Barclays Center
By VINCENT DAVIS | 4/24/2014, 1:24 p.m.
What Brooklyn? “F— Brooklyn”? I’d suggest to Masai Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors’ general manager, that he doesn’t have to come to Brooklyn, though his Toronto Raptors must play here this weekend (Friday and Sunday) for Games 3 and 4 in the Eastern Conference playoff series at the Barclays Center.
As a New Yorker, I’d suggest that Ujiri heed his $25,000 league fine and not pack that language or tone in his travel bag for his team’s trip here. As civil as this city has become, crime hasn’t been reduced here that much!
Brooklyn and Toronto get into it tied 1-1, but the advantage goes to the Nets, because one, they’re home, and two, they must defend Brooklyn’s honor. Three, they could have won Game 2 Tuesday night in Toronto. The Raptors had 20 turnovers. The lead changed nine times, but several bad breaks and missed shots caused Brooklyn to lose despite more fourth quarter heroics from Paul Pierce, reminding fans why the Nets brought him here.
And yes, Deron Williams was fouled on a missed call by the refs in the fourth, but give Toronto credit for holding him to nine points less than he scored in Game 1 (24) and for holding Joe Johnson to six less than the 24 he too scored on Saturday.
Demar DeRozan’s 30 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, was 16 more than he scored in Game 1. Add Jonas Valanciunas’ second straight double-double—15 points and 14 rebounds—and Toronto narrowly defeated Brooklyn 100-95.
Being able to win one game in Toronto now gives Brooklyn home court advantage. It’s important for them to capitalize on this victory, because they’re both evenly matched despite their playoff seedings–Toronto at three and Brooklyn at six–both winning two games against each other during the regular season, each winning one on the other’s court.
But while Brooklyn plays with time restraints—that is, the advanced ages of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce—Toronto plays for respect.
DeRozan stated, “We’ve been here when people just thought you could come into Toronto and get a win ... We want everybody to know when you play against the Toronto Raptors, you are going to have to fight; you are going to have to bring your game. That’s the passion every single guy on this team has, this organization has.” I’m sure he also shares the sentiments of Ujiri. They’re on the same page!