Friday, May 2, 2014
With backs against wall, Brooklyn confident
By Mike Mazzeo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Despite being just one loss from elimination, the Brooklyn Nets remain a confident group.
“We’re definitely going back to Toronto,” Nets center Andray Blatche said prior to Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Barclays Center.
Nets forward Paul Pierce basically said the same thing following Brooklyn’s 115-113 loss at Air Canada Centre in Game 5.
“Without a doubt,” Pierce said when asked if he believed his team could win the next two games in order to advance to the second round, where the two-time defending champion Miami Heat await.
“One game at a time, we got to take care of home. I think we will play better on Friday at home and we’ll see them back here [in Toronto] Sunday.”
The Nets are the most expensive team in NBA history -- boasting a roster that, between payroll and luxury taxes, will cost owner Mikhail Prokhorov more than $190 million. They came into the season with championship dreams after acquiring Pierce and center Kevin Garnett in a blockbuster trade and bringing on rookie Jason Kidd as head coach.
But those dreams will be shattered with one more loss.
“I don’t think we should feel any pressure,” Joe Johnson said. “But we got our work cut out for us.”
Entering the 2014 playoffs, only 37 of 262 teams that trailed a best-of-seven series 3-2 went on to win the series (14.1 percent), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. As an NBA franchise, the Nets are 0-4 all time in best-of-seven series when trailing 3-2, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Nets are just 5-11 at home in games in which they have faced playoff elimination since entering the NBA in 1976, Elias said. That is the worst home winning percentage for any NBA franchise that has faced playoff elimination on their home court at least 10 times.
It would be one costly failure of a season if the Nets do get ousted on Friday night.
“Well, hopefully that’s not going to happen,” Williams said. “So, hopefully we won’t have to talk about it.”