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Preview: Nets (44-38) at Raptors (48-34)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Date: May 04, 2014 1:00 PM EDT
  

TORONTO (AP) - Andray Blatche is confident the Brooklyn Nets have found the 'recipe' they need to beat the Toronto Raptors. And that's not all.

Riding high after a big win in Game 6, Blatche cooked up controversy by guaranteeing the Nets will win their first-round series with a Game 7 victory in Toronto on Sunday.

The Nets, who nearly overturned a 26-point deficit with a 44-point fourth quarter in Game 5, carried that momentum into Friday night's must-win meeting in Brooklyn, staving off elimination by jumping out to a 34-19 lead and limiting the Raptors to a series-low 83 points.

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That had Blatche boasting that Brooklyn would soon be settling into a second-round series against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.

'We guarantee it,' Blatche said after Friday's game. 'We're gonna go there (Sunday), take care of business and go to Miami.'

Blatche's guarantee wasn't welcomed by the Raptors.

'Who does he think he is?' Toronto guard Greivis Vasquez asked after the Raptors practiced Saturday. 'He's not KG or Paul Pierce or Jason Kidd. We're not going to listen to his nonsense.'

Whatever they think of Blatche's brash prediction, the Raptors are admittedly on the ropes after struggling to close out Game 5, then playing poorly in Game 6. The Nets, meanwhile, feel things are starting to go their way.

'I think our momentum will carry over,' Blatche said. 'I think we found the recipe.'

Guard Shaun Livingston agreed, pointing to the fact that the Nets beat the Raptors on the road in Game 1.

'We kind of found a structure that works for us,' Livingston said. 'Our confidence is high. We know we can go into that building and get a win. I think we're built for that.'

Toronto may not have momentum on its side, but it will have an arena full of fired-up fans. The noise at Air Canada Centre was so loud during Game 5, even the Nets' official Twitter feed took notice, urging Brooklyn fans to behave more like their boisterous Canadian counterparts.

'It will definitely be crazy in here tomorrow,' Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said Saturday. 'The energy us definitely going to be major tomorrow so that's something we can feed off.'

Neither team has won a Game 7 before: the Nets are 0-2 in such situations, while the Raptors are 0-1. Brooklyn lost Game 7 at Chicago in the first round last year.

Following that loss, the Nets traded for Pierce and Kevin Garnett, made a few more moves in free agency, and ended up with a roster that boasts 36 combined All-Star appearances and costs more than $180 million in salaries and taxes.

So while Brooklyn may have momentum on its side, it also has the bulk of the pressure, too. DeRozan, the lone All-Star on Toronto's roster, certainly sees it that way.

'Yeah, man,' DeRozan said. 'We ain't got not 100 million payroll or whatever they got. That's all on them. At the end of the day, they have more to lose than us.'

Toronto, which has never won a seven-game series, suffered its only Game 7 loss in May, 2001, when a Vince Carter jump shot at the buzzer rimmed out, sending the Philadelphia 76ers to the conference finals.

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was a 16-year-old high schooler in Philadelphia that spring, and remembers watching the game.

'I was a fan back then, of the other team,' Lowry said. 'But it was a great game, a great game.'

Experience, or Toronto's lack of it, has been debated at length this series, and could prove vital in Sunday's winner-take-all atmosphere. Toronto's roster has played in seven Game 7s combined, one fewer than Pierce alone.

'This is the type of situation that I love and love to be in,' Pierce said Friday.

In all, the Nets have a combined 27 games worth of experience in Game 7s. 'Someone's got to go home,' Nets guard Joe Johnson said Friday. 'We don't want it to be us.'

The tip-off time for Sunday's game doesn't favor the Raptors. Including their Game 1 loss to Brooklyn, Toronto is 3-7 this season in games that start before 6 p.m.

'It's not great,' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. 'The numbers speak for themselves.'

Still, Casey said he hopes his players learned a valuable lesson about what's needed to close out a series after coming up short Friday.

'I hope that they did gain something by getting punched last night and knowing how hard Brooklyn is going to come out and how hard we have to come out,' Casey said.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Nets at Raptors
Tue, Apr 22 Final 95 to 100
 Recaps
GAME 2
Raptors at Nets
Fri, Apr 25 Final 98 to 102
 Recaps
GAME 3
Raptors at Nets
Sun, Apr 27 Final 87 to 79
 Recaps
GAME 4
Nets at Raptors
Wed, Apr 30 Final 113 to 115
 Recaps
GAME 5
Raptors at Nets
Fri, May 2 Final 83 to 97
 Recaps
GAME 6
Nets at Raptors
Sun, May 4 Final 104 to 103
 Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  +125   +3   189 
 TOR  -145   -3   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  +110   +2.5   189.5 
 TOR  -130   -2.5   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  70%   62%   58% 
 TOR  30%   38%   42% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 NBA HEAD TO HEAD
 May 2, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 TOR 83 Under: 180 
 NJN 97 Cover: 9.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 30, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 113 Cover: 1 
 TOR 115 Over: 228 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 27, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 TOR 87 Cover: 12 
 NJN 79 Under: 166 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 25, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 TOR 98 Cover: 1 
 NJN 102 Over: 200 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 22, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 95 Cover: 0 
 TOR 100 Over: 195 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 19, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 94 Cover: 10.5 
 TOR 87 Under: 181 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Mar 10, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 TOR 97 Over: 198 
 NJN 101 Cover: 1 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Jan 27, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 TOR 104 Cover: 5 
 NJN 103 Over: 207 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Jan 11, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 80 Under: 176 
 TOR 96 Cover: 7 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Nov 26, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 102 Cover: 9 
 TOR 100 Over: 202 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NBA PREVIEWS
 Sunday, May 4
 
    Nets at Raptors
1:05 PM EDT
    Mavericks at Spurs
3:40 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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