- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Brooklyn Nets will look to take a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
Tough to be 2-0: Road teams that won Game 1 are 27-90 (.231) historically in Game 2s of NBA best-of-seven playoff series, according to whowins.com. The Nets have gone up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series only four times in franchise history. Adjustments are going to be the key in this game, which means the key matchup might just be between coaches Jason Kidd and Dwane Casey.
Tightening things up: The Nets won Game 1 despite going 4-for-24 from 3-point range. At one point, they missed 19 straight 3s. Brooklyn’s bench accounted for just 16 points and went 0-for-12 from deep. The Nets got outrebounded (as usual) by eight. Essentially, they didn’t play their best basketball, yet they won anyway. That’s a good sign. But they still need to get better.
Fossil fuel: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett made huge plays down the stretch in the opening game, enabling the Nets to emerge with the victory. Pierce had his way in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his 15 points. He’s a tough cover for Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson. Garnett had trouble guarding Jonas Valanciunas (17 points, 18 rebounds), but did come up with a huge shot -- his only make of the game -- that gave Brooklyn a 79-76 lead over Toronto late in the final period.
Battle of the PGs: Deron Williams (24 points, plus-20) outplayed Kyle Lowry (22 points, minus-12) in Game 1. Williams was in attack mode early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. Defensively, Lowry scored just four points in the fourth. If Williams can get the best of Lowry again, the Nets will most likely come out on the winning end in Game 2.
Things to wonder: How will the Raptors change their defensive coverages on Joe Johnson (24 points)? Can Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson contain DeMar DeRozan (3-for-13) again? Will Andrei Kirilenko play in Game 2 after being a DNP-coach’s decision in Game 1?
4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann