They hope Brooklyn fans will make the Barclays Center a hostile environment for the Raptors on Friday, when the Nets return for Game 3.
Nets coach Jason Kidd said the team is excited about the prospects of playing in front of its home crowd with home-court advantage and the best-of-seven series tied at 1-1.
"We are excited to be home," Kidd said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. "This is an opportunity to protect home. So we understand our crowd will be behind us. We have the best fans. We are excited to be home. Our job is to hold serve."
The Nets were unbreakable at Barclays from Feb. 3 to April 4, defeating the likes of San Antonio, Charlotte, Chicago, Memphis, Toronto and Houston -- all teams in the playoffs.
And Kevin Garnett would like to see Nets fans let the Raptors hear it for general manager Masai Ujiri’s now infamous “F--- Brooklyn!” pep rally cry to Toronto fans outside the Air Canada Centre before Game 1.
“We know it's going to be a rowdy environment, like it should be," Garnett said after the Raptors evened the series with a 100-95 Game 2 win. "I don't know if you can say 'F Brooklyn' and then come into Brooklyn. So we're about to see what it's like."
Even though the Nets feel like they let Game 2 get away after blowing a five-point lead by giving up 36 points to the Raptors in the final quarter, they also say they haven’t played their best game yet against Toronto.
“We don’t feel like we played our best basketball by any means,” Deron Williams said. “We stole one here which is what we hoped to do. We wanted to be greedy and get tonight as well. It didn’t happen, [so] now we got to go home and protect home court.”
Williams likes shooting at home. He averaged 49.3 percent shooting at Barclays. He’s not alone as far as feeling more comfortable at home.
Paul Pierce averaged 46.4 percent shooting at Barclays. Joe Johnson made 44.9 percent of his 3-pointers at home. The Nets shot 47.7 percent overall and 39.1 percent from behind the arc at home during the regular season.
So far through two games in Toronto -- albeit under the intensity of playoff basketball -- Williams has shot 37.1 percent from the field. Pierce made 33 percent from the field and just 18.2 percent from behind the arc in Toronto. Johnson shot only 20 percent from 3-point range at Air Canada Centre, too.
Overall the team shot 43.3 percent from the field and 22.9 percent from behind the arc in Canada.
So the Nets are looking forward to returning home in more ways than one.
Johnson had just scored 12 points in the third quarter -- including a stretch of nine straight.
No Raptor had been able to contain him.
So Toronto coach Dwane Casey decided to put defensive specialist/offensive liability Landry Fields in.
Johnson played 6:18 in the fourth quarter -- and Fields guarded him every step of the way.
Johnson had just two points in the final period on 1-for-2 shooting, and the Raptors won 100-95, evening the best-of-seven, first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at 1-1.
Was Johnson surprised Fields came in?
“No, I wasn’t,” he replied.
Did Fields do anything special?
“No,” Johnson replied.
But they must’ve adjusted, no?
“I don't really think there was too much of a difference,” Johnson said. “They came and they trapped. Pretty much what they did in the second half of the first game, and sometimes they came, sometimes they didn't. So I just gotta be patient, take my time and get other guys involved.”
The Nets tried to get Johnson involved when they ran a pick-and-roll involving him and Deron Williams. But Brooklyn didn’t get the switch it wanted.
Williams passed the ball to Johnson, who was being defended by Fields near the 3-point arc on the left wing. Johnson elected to pull-up for the shot, but Fields blocked it with 5:18 left.
Johnson’s only basket against Field was off an out-of-bounds play in which Kevin Garnett picked Fields. The pick allowed Johnson to get Fields on his hip and he got a layup to go with 18.2 seconds left.
But that was it.
“He stopped Joe,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s the defensive stopper.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this matchup evolves. How will Johnson adjust?
Will Casey stick with Fields knowing how limited he is as an offensive player?
Game 3 is Friday night at Barclays Center.
But so far in these playoffs -- yes, it’s only been two games -- the Nets’ bench has underperformed.
Bottom line: The Nets have been a much better team when their starters are on the court.
Just look at some of these scoring breakdowns:
61 minutes on-court: 130-103 Nets
35 minutes on-bench: 84-59 Raptors
39 minutes on-court: 90-73 Nets
57 minutes on-bench: 114-99 Raptors
74 minutes on-court: 158-133 Nets
22 minutes on-bench: 54-31 Raptors
81 minutes on-court: 163-146 Nets
15 minutes on-bench: 41-26 Raptors
On-court plus/minus is a flawed stat, sure, but in this case it kind of tells the tale:
Paul Pierce: Plus-27
Deron Williams: Plus-25
Kevin Garnett: Plus-17
Joe Johnson: Plus-17
Mirza Teletovic: Minus-23
Marcus Thornton: Minus-19
Andray Blatche: Minus-16
Alan Anderson: Minus-14
Brooklyn’s bench overall: 169 minutes, 46 points, 38.3 percent shooting, 4-for-20 3-point range, 6-for-14 free-throw line.
This is something Nets coach Jason Kidd is going to have to weigh going forward.
Remember: All season long, Kidd has made sure his starters have gotten the proper rest -- too much rest, it could be argued.
But also remember: Kidd broke down last season, in his age 40 campaign, and was no longer an effective player by the playoffs. His veteran starters, to this point, seem fresh and have been really productive.
Which brings us to the great conundrum of the first half of the fourth quarter.
Kidd likes to bring his starters back around the six-minute mark.
Lineup: Shaun Livingston-Thornton-Johnson-Teletovic-Blatche
Time played: 5:35
Score: 11-6 Raptors (67-62 Nets to 73-73 tie)
Lineup: Livingston-Anderson-Andrei Kirilenko-Blatche/Mason Plumlee
Time played: 5:42
Score: 15-12 Raptors (66-64 Nets to 79-78 Raptors)
Kidd probably needs to pull his reserves earlier in the fourth quarter and go to his starters earlier -- or, at least, play more of them with the reserves during that span. What he’s trying to do makes sense -- in the regular season. Not so much in what are essentially must-win games. The Nets had a 69-64 lead in the fourth in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Going up 2-0 probably puts the series away. Instead, his first-half-of-the-fourth-quarter unit gave that lead up.
Yes, Pierce still had a chance to hit that 3-pointer late. Fine. But Brooklyn failed to gain a stranglehold of the series.
The Nets can’t rebound: OK. So we knew this already. It has been a problem all season. During the regular season, the Nets ranked next-to-last in rebounding differential (minus-4.8 per game). So far, it’s Raptors 97, Nets 67. Even for a team as bad at rebounding as Brooklyn, that’s awful. It’s not something that you can really expected to be corrected given that the Nets like to play small, but it’s certainly something that they can at least narrow the gap. That would be helpful, anyway. Ugly Game 2 stat, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information: The Raptors grabbed 50 percent of their missed shots Tuesday, which ties the highest offensive rebounding percentage the Nets have allowed in any game since April. 10, 2011 (also against the Raptors).
Brooklyn needs to make 3s: Eventually, they probably will. The Nets are 11-for-48 from 3-point range (22.9 percent). It’s not like they’ve taken bad shots; in fact, most of them were open. It’s just a matter of knocking them down. Brooklyn ranked 11th in 3-point accuracy during the regular season (36.9 percent). That’s a much more realistic number. Look for some sort of normalization here.
The first six minutes of the fourth are scary: That’s because Nets coach Jason Kidd likes to rely on his bench during this time. In Game 2, the reserves were minus-three over the first 5:42 of the final period. It’s important for the bench to somehow play even basketball while the starters sit. Fans would probably like for Kidd to go to his starting group a little earlier, but he has been doing this kind of thing all season.
The Raptors turn the ball over a lot: So much for Dwane Casey’s plea to take care of the ball. Two games. Forty turnovers. Twenty-three Brooklyn steals. At least the Nets, true to who the are, are creating turnovers via steals.
DeRozan turned things around: He was 3-for-13 from the field in Game 1. He scored 30 points -- 17 of them in the fourth quarter -- in Game 2. And this note from ESPN Stats & Information: DeRozan was 1-of-5 for two points with Johnson as his primary defender in Game 1, compared to 5-of-7 for 10 points in Game 2. And what exactly was up with the Nets giving up 75 percent shooting to the Raptors in the fourth quarter of Game 2? Not good.
The D-Will vs. Lowry matchup is fun: Their numbers in Game 2 weren’t great, but these guys are fun to watch. Game 1 went to Deron Williams (24 points). Game 2 went to Kyle Lowry (14 points, nine rebounds, six assists). When they’ve been on, these guys have been huge difference-makers. But they’ve also been ineffective for stretches as well.
Kirilenko’s playing time a question mark: Andrei Kirilenko didn’t play in Game 1. He did play in Game 2, producing four points, four steals and three rebounds in 20 minutes. It’ll be interesting to see if and when Kidd decides to deploy Kirilenko for the rest of the series.
In case you missed it: Pierce called the Nets’ effort on the glass “soft,” while Garnett says you can’t say “F Brooklyn and then come into Brooklyn.” Plus Ohm Youngmisuk’s column on Pierce not being able to come up with the big shot two games in a row.
Lint rolling: Yeah, that was rapper Drake using that lint roller on his pants as the game was going on. Check out our blog.
Up next: The Nets and Raptors don’t play again until Friday night, when Game 3 tips off at Barclays Center.
TORONTO –- Paul Pierce might have felt like a fossil, sitting nearly 10 minutes from the late third quarter through much of the fourth due to foul trouble.
And despite the Nets’ virtually extinct defense in the fourth quarter, Pierce still had a packed Toronto crowd holding its collective breath with 24.9 seconds left.
The young Raptors were clinging to a two-point lead (and their season) when Pierce caught the ball in the corner by himself. He launched a 3-pointer as Raptors fans let out a gasp in hopes it would not be another fourth-quarter dagger piercing through their hearts.
Pierce’s clutch DNA, though, went missing in Game 2. The Raptors survived and evened the series at 1-1 with a 100-95 win. And the Nets let the Raptors off the hook.
Yes, the Nets left Canada with what they came for -- stealing a game and home-court advantage. But the Nets had a chance to choke the air out of the Raptors and seize control of the series.
DeRozan, the head baby Raptor, matured quickly, scoring 30 points, with 17 coming in the fourth quarter. It was DeRozan the Nets absolutely didn’t want to see. And now DeRozan knows how to take over a playoff game. And the young, inexperienced Raptors know how to win a playoff game.
And the Nets know they have themselves to blame.
“Too many touches for them in the paint, too many paint points, and we didn’t rebound,” Pierce lamented. “We gave them everything they wanted, 50 points in the paint, and  offensive rebounds.
“We were a soft team tonight.”
Pierce knows the Nets let a prime chance to shorten this series slip away.
Despite Pierce being saddled with his fourth foul at the 3:36 mark of the third, the Nets opened a 69-64 lead with 11:20 remaining in the game.
The Raptors (21 turnovers) couldn’t stop turning the ball over like they did in Game 1. Kyle Lowry was having an off night, scoring just six points and missing 7 of 8 shots through three quarters. DeRozan had 13 points, and Jonas Valanciunas totaled 11 points and 11 rebounds entering the fourth -- all numbers the Nets could live with.
The game was there for the taking for the Nets. Instead, Brooklyn stopped playing defense. Jason Kidd watched his team surrender 36 points and 75 percent shooting (12-of-16 shooting) to the Raptors in the fourth quarter.
DeRozan looked like Vince Carter at times, soaring through the lane for a monster dunk early in the quarter, and the Raptors were off and scoring.
Fortunately for Brooklyn, Toronto didn’t play much defense, either. Shortly after Pierce checked back into the game with 5:44 left, the Nets fell behind 83-78. But Andrei Kirilenko scored, then Pierce scored and was fouled. His three-point play tied the game at 83-83 with 3:48 left. Toronto fans had to think they were going to relive Game 1, when Pierce scored nine straight points in the final three minutes to steal the opener.
But Lowry nailed a pull-up jumper. Then DeRozan grew up before our very eyes, burying a 20-foot pull-up jumper and an 18-foot fadeaway over Joe Johnson. The Nets kept it close, but the Raptors answered every time. And Pierce (2-for-11 shooting, seven points) didn't have it this time.
And so now the series is tied 1-1, changing the narrative.
Entering Game 2, all the questions were about how the young Raptors would react after losing the first game and if they would be able to overcome the Nets’ enormous advantage in experience.
Now, the series shifts to Brooklyn, and the Raptors have tasted playoff victory.
Garnett knows the Nets haven’t played their best basketball yet.
But that didn't stop him from already beginning to plant the seed with the Brooklyn fans to create as hostile an environment as possible for Toronto.
“Now we’ve just got to take care of home,” Garnett said. “We know it’s going to be a rowdy environment, like it should be.
“I don’t know if you can say, ‘F Brooklyn,’ and then come into Brooklyn,” he added in reference to Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri’s now infamous pep-rally cry. “So we’re about to see what it’s like.”
The Raptors have seen what it’s like to win a playoff game. And that could be very dangerous for the Nets.
TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan couldn't wait to get back on the court. It had only been three days since Game 1, but for him it felt much longer. The Raptors swingman had a rough playoff debut, and he'd answered questions about his struggles since Saturday. After the "F--- Brooklyn" drama and the endless talk about experience, inexperience and officiating, he could finally make a point with his play.
In the locker room before the game, there were more extracurriculars to discuss. DeRozan was informed that notorious Toronto mayor Rob Ford had made a bet on the series with the Brooklyn borough president. He also learned Ford would be in attendance.
"I hope Rob Ford's got my jersey on," DeRozan said to laughs, but he'd made the more important statement earlier: The Raptors were anxious to get out there and play, and the first-game jitters were gone.
But Kevin Garnett believes there will be nothing soft about the Brooklyn crowd when the Nets return to the Barclays Center for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven first-round series.
"We know it's going to be a rowdy environment, like it should be," Garnett said. "I don't know if you can say 'F Brooklyn' and then come into Brooklyn. So we're about to see what it's like."
Garnett was referring to Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri shouting "F--- Brooklyn!" at a pep rally before Game 1 outside Air Canada Centre on Saturday. Ujiri was fined $25,000 by the NBA for the expletive.
Garnett hopes the home crowd makes things difficult for the Raptors in Game 3 on Friday.
"That's Kevin," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He's his own man. He's been that way since he first came in the league.
"You gotta listen to what he's saying and not how he's saying it and keep playing basketball. He is who he is. That's what's made him a great player. But you still have to play the game, as I said. Whether it's Brooklyn or here in Toronto, you still have to play the game."
The Nets return to Brooklyn with home-court advantage after winning Game 1. However, they missed out on an opportunity to put Toronto on the ropes in Game 2.
Jason Kidd's team was up 69-64 with 11:20 remaining, but Toronto scored 36 points and made 12 of 16 shots (75 percent) in the fourth quarter. The Nets were also battered on the glass, outrebounded 52-30 by the younger and more athletic Raptors.
Paul Pierce played hero in Game 1.
He had a chance to do it again in Game 2.
But this time, it was not meant to be.
Pierce missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing with 24 seconds left that would’ve given the Brooklyn Nets the lead, and they fell to the Toronto Raptors 100-95 on Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.
The best-of-seven, first-round Eastern Conference playoff series is now tied at 1-1.
What it means: The Nets got the split they wanted on the road. They still have yet to play their best basketball. This game was there for taking, but this time they got out-executed down the stretch. The Nets shot 7-for-24 from 3-point range and 20-for-28 from the free throw line. In the first two games of the series, they are just 11-for-48 from downtown.
DeMar DeRozan, who was held to just 3-for-13 shooting in Game 1, erupted for 30 points -- 17 of them in the fourth quarter. DeRozan hit a couple of tough midrange jumpers to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead.
Kyle Lowry got the better of Deron Williams this time, scoring a couple of huge buckets late in the fourth. Lowry drove for a layup that put the Raptors ahead 91-87 with 1:25 remaining. Lowry finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Williams had 15 points and five assists on 5-for-15 shooting.
Joe Johnson scored 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter but was held to just two points in the fourth due to some fabulous defense by ex-New York Knick Landry Fields.
Typical Nets basketball: The Nets got killed on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 52-30. But they recorded 14 steals and the Raptors had 21 turnovers. Brooklyn turned the ball over only 10 times.
Dinosaurs: Kevin Garnett scored 13 points and pulled down four rebounds in 19 minutes but once again had a tough time inside against Jonas Valanciunas (15 points, 14 rebounds). Pierce was in foul trouble early on and didn’t register his first field goal until the 3:48 mark of the fourth. The Game 1 hero shot just 2-for-11 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
Let’s call this the comeback: The Nets opened the third quarter on an extended 17-6 run to take a 56-53 lead. Johnson heated up in the third, at one point scoring nine consecutive points for his team. Brooklyn went 9-for-17 from the field in the period (52.9 percent). The Nets led 66-64 heading into the fourth.
Lucky to be alive: The Nets opened up 9-for-30 from the field (37.5 percent overall in the first two quarters) and fell behind by as many as 11. But they trailed just 45-39 at the half. Williams went 2-for-9 from the field in the opening 24 minutes. Mirza Teletovic had 11 huge points to keep Brooklyn afloat. Lowry was held without a field goal.
Cold as ice: The Nets jumped out to an 8-1 lead. They were up 9-4 when Pierce picked up his second foul. Then their offense went in the tank. They missed 10 of 11 shots as the Raptors countered with an extended 15-3 run. Toronto led 21-19 after one.
AK makes an appearance: Andrei Kirilenko, who was a DNP-coach’s decision in Game 1, entered in the second quarter. He had his usual impact, always being around the ball and creating havoc in one way or another.
Odd men out: Andray Blatche (eight minutes) and Marcus Thornton (five minutes) both played sparingly. Rookie Mason Plumlee logged 21 minutes.
More testiness: Garnett picked up his second technical foul in as many games for taunting late in the second quarter. Then the pesty Lowry pushed Garnett early in the third and was hit with a T.
Lint-sanity: Rapper Drake was seen vigorously brushing something off his black pants with what appeared to be a lint brush while play was going on in the first quarter. Carrying around a lint brush just became cool. See the video here.
Up next: The series shifts to Barclays Center for Game 3 on Friday night.
TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second straight playoff double-double and the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-95 on Tuesday night, evening their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
Hampered by foul trouble throughout the game, Brooklyn's Paul Pierce went 2 for 11 from the field, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range. He finished with seven points.
The rapper who recorded "Started From The Bottom" was seen vigorously brushing his pants off with what appeared to be a lint roller while sitting in his courtside seats (see video above).
It didn't take long for the video to go viral.
Drake is a "global ambassador" for the Raptors brand. The team held a "Drake Night" earlier this season.
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey found the lack of calls his team received in the fourth quarter of its Game 1 playoff matchup "unusual," but Brooklyn Nets big man Kevin Garnett is willing to chalk it up to postseason basketball.
"In the playoffs you're not going to get calls," Garnett said. "If you do, then you're fortunate. Playing on the road is very difficult. We know that. Some of us do. And that's just expected to come with the series. Things are not going to go the way that you want them and you have to just continue to be aggressive. But that's the difference between experience and non-experience."
The Nets, buoyed by a veteran roster, were whistled for just one foul in the final quarter of the opener to the teams' first-round series on Saturday. The young Raptors, in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, were charged with six fourth-quarter fouls. The Nets won 94-87.
"I'm not going to comment on officiating, except to say I went back to watch the calls in the fourth quarter and we didn't get any," Casey said on Monday. "And that's unusual."
Toronto swingman DeMar DeRozan acknowledged Monday that his team had settled for jump shots down the stretch, and reserves Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson said they didn't expect respect from the refs.
Nets forward Paul Pierce, like Garnett, shrugged off the referees' effect on the game.
Final R H E Yankees 1 8 3 Red Sox 5 10 0 Final R H E Cardinals 2 11 1 Mets 3 4 0