Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Starting five: Pick your poison
By Ohm Youngmisuk
TORONTO –- Kevin Garnett knows you can’t take everything away from a team in a playoff series.
You’ll have to give something up. In the Brooklyn Nets’ case in Game 1, they surrendered 17 points and 18 rebounds to Jonas Valanciunas inside.
The Nets want to slow down the Toronto Raptors’ backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They don’t want to let the young Raptors get going, whether it be on the break or from behind the 3-point arc. DeRozan shot just 3-of-13. He and Lowry combined for only eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
However, Jason Kidd also doesn’t want to see Toronto’s big man put up a monster line again either.
“Well, I think it’s a fine line,” Kidd said of having to give up something defensively. “We want to make it tough on everyone. Being able to take away the 3 and then also protect our paint is something that we’ve got to do a better job at.”
Valanciunas, 21, made 7 of 13 shots and had two blocks in his playoff debut. He also committed six turnovers.
While Valanciunas may be in his first playoff series, he didn’t look like somebody who was going to let a crafty veteran like Garnett get in his head.
Valanciunas was asked if Garnett talks a lot on the court.
“No,” the Lithuanian said. “I don't understand English, so I’m OK.”
Valanciunas seems to have a pretty dry sense of humor. When asked if Garnett was a player he idolized when he was young, Valanciunas responded, “His last name is really famous, so I heard about him when I was a kid.”
Valanciunas might end up making a name for himself in this series if the Nets don’t find a way to slow him down.
Up now: Let the chess match begin. Both teams must make their adjustments from Game 1. And the Nets should expect the Raptors to bring an attitude adjustment.
Call him Joe Mismatch.
Masai Ujiri won’t have to pay big bucks for dropping that “F” bomb on Saturday.
Kidd didn’t extend Pierce’s minutes during the regular season and it’s paying off now.
The odds of the Nets stealing Game 2 aren’t so good.
Net fact: Pierce has played in a ton of playoff games, but he still had a long way to go on the all-time list. He will tie Dale Davis for 50th in NBA history with his 138th career playoff game on Tuesday night.
What’s next: Game 2 in Toronto tips off at 7:30 p.m.
Question of the day: If you’re Kidd, can you live with another big game by Valanciunas? Which poison are you picking when trying to shut down Toronto’s young talent?