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Friday, May 2, 2014
W2W4: Nets vs. Raptors, Game 6

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Paul Pierce and Andray Blatche are both confident that the Brooklyn Nets will win on Friday night and force a decisive Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

Toronto lead the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series 3-2, meaning Brooklyn’s season is officially on the brink. Here’s what
we’ll be watching for:

SEASON ON THE BRINK! The Nets have the highest payroll in NBA history -- over $190 million between payroll and luxury taxes. So if they were to lose this series against the Raptors, it would be one costly colossal failure. Remember, Brooklyn entered the season with championship aspirations.

History is not on the Nets’ side. They have never won a best-of-7 series as an NBA franchise when trailing 3-2 (0-4 via ESPN Stats & Info). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only 14.1 percent of all teams facing this scenario have. It’s a tough task.

WHICH DERON SHOWS UP: The Nets were always going to go as far as Deron Williams was able to take them. So far, he’s been great in two games and bad in three games. In wins, Williams is averaging 23 points on 44.1 percent shooting with 1.5 turnovers. In losses, he’s averaging 12.7 points on 37.1 percent shooting and 3.7 turnovers. Kyle Lowry outplayed Williams in Game 5, outscoring him 21-3 in the first half and 36-13 overall. That can’t happen on Friday night if Brooklyn wants to keep its season alive.

WILL KG AND PP REBOUND? Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were a combined minus-46 in Game 5 and did not play in the fourth quarter as the Nets mounted an incredible 26-point comeback. It’ll be interesting to see if Nets coach Jason Kidd decides to go with these two for more minutes than usual.