Game 7 - Nets at Raptors
May 3, 2014
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Brooklyn (47-41) at Toronto (51-34)
Eastern Conference First Round
Game 7 – Series tied 3-3
Tip-off: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Sportsbook.ag Line: Toronto -3, Total: 188.5
A back-and-forth series will finally be decided on Sunday afternoon when the Raptors host the Nets in Game 7 of the first-round playoffs.
Toronto had a chance to close out the series in Friday's Game 6, but Brooklyn jumped out to a 34-19 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, prevailing 97-83 to extend the series until Sunday. The Nets were able to dominate the Raptors in points in the paint (48-32), including 22 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.
Despite suffering a sprained ankle, PG Deron Williams was the star of Game 6 with 23 points, and is now averaging 23.0 PPG in his team's three victories this postseason, but only 12.7 PPG in the club's three defeats.
Although Brooklyn has been a terrible road team this season (17-27 SU, 20-23-1 ATS), the club is 2-0-1 ATS in Toronto this series, including an outright win in Game 1. The Raptors are 28-16 SU (21-21-2 ATS) at home this season, but have been outstanding coming off an SU loss this season at 23-11-2 ATS (68%).
These clubs enter Game 7 with an even ATS mark versus one another over the past three seasons (8-8-1 ATS overall and 4-4-1 ATS in Toronto), and both have been excellent with just one day's rest this season, with the Nets posting a 27-18 ATS record (60%) in this scenario, while the Raptors are 30-19-1 ATS (61%) with one day's rest.
Other than Williams, who expects to start despite his ankle injury, there are no significant injuries for either team.
The Nets outplayed their opponent in nearly every facet on Friday, outshooting the Raptors 47% FG to 39% FG, scoring more fast-break points (15-12) and outrebounding them 45-42. All five Brooklyn starters finished with at least nine points and a +7 rating, led by PG Deron Williams (17.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 1.3 SPG in series) who made 8-of-16 shots and tallied 23 points, five boards, four assists, two turnovers and a game-high +25 rating.
Backcourt mate SG Joe Johnson (21.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG in series) also played excellent basketball with a +23 rating, 17 points (5-of-12 FG, 7-of-9 FT) and three assists. The starting frontcourt also did its job with C Kevin Garnett (7.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG in series) scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 FG with five boards and two blocks in his 27 minutes, and SF Paul Pierce (14.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG in series) tallying 12 points, six boards, three assists, three steals and a +21 rating.
PF Alan Anderson (5.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG in series) did a great job battling on the boards with nine rebounds (3 offensive) and also pitched in nine points and a +12 rating. Brooklyn needs more from its bench though, as the six reserves combined for only 23 points and missed all three long-range attempts. The Nets made just 6-of-21 threes (29%), but did a nice job defensively with 10 steals, including five steals from the bench.
Nobody in Toronto's starting five played particularly well on Friday, as the unit scored only 58 points on 21-of-54 FG (39%) and 4-of-14 threes. SG DeMar DeRozan (24.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 SPG in series) was the only player on the team with at least a dozen points, pouring in 28 points on 8-of-18 FG and 10-of-11 FT. He also contributed six rebounds, four assists and two steals in his 40 productive minutes.
But backcourt mate PG Kyle Lowry (20.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 4.3 RPG in series) had a miserable game with 11 points on 4-of-16 FG, four assists, four turnovers, five fouls and a minus-24 rating. This was quite a letdown from his brilliant Game 5 performance when he scored 36 points on 11-of-19 FG (6-of-9 threes). If he gets badly outplayed by Deron Williams again in Game 7, his season will end on Sunday.
C Jonas Valanciunas (12.2 PPG, 10.5 RPG in series) took only five shots in his 26 minutes and finished with nine points, nine rebounds and a minus-13 rating. Toronto needs its near-seven-footer to be much more aggressive to make up the difference in points in the paint, but he has played much better at home this series (16.0 PPG, 12.7 RPG) than he has in Brooklyn (8.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG). The Raptors also had lackluster performances from starting forwards PF Amir Johnson (9.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG in series) and SF Terrence Ross (4.0 PPG in series) on Friday, as the duo combined for 10 points (5-of-15 FG), eight boards and a minus-33 rating.
PG Greivis Vasquez (11.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.0 RPG in series) was the only bench player with a significant contribution in Game 6, scoring nine points with three rebounds in his 24 minutes.
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