With their playoff lives on the line, the Brooklyn Nets put on a show in game six of the NBA playoffs. After scoring 44 points in the fourth quarter in game five against the Toronto Raptors, the Nets shooting touch seemed to carry over into game six.
The Nets came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders at home, as they got out to a 34-19 lead after the first quarter. The only reason the Raptors were even that close after the opening frame was the 10 points from DeMar DeRozan.
Brooklyn ended the first half hovering around 60 percent shooting from the field and took a 60-41 lead into the locker room. The Raptors went on a bit of a run in the third quarter, but seven turnovers in the quarter saw them head into the fourth quarter trailing the Nets 79-59.
The Raptors went on an 11-0 run in the fourth and eventually cut the Nets lead to just 10. Despite the best efforts of DeMar DeRozan, the Nets continued to make shots when they needed to and held on to win 97-83. The Nets and Raptors will follow suit in this year’s NBA playoffs and take part in a decisive game seven on Sunday in Toronto.
While the Raptors did make a run in the fourth, the Nets never really looked back after taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter. Deron Williams had a solid game for the Nets with 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting, Joe Johnson chipped in 17 points of his own.
Brooklyn dominated Toronto in the paint, and for one of the few times in this series they outrebounded the Raptors. The question for the Nets heading into game seven will be how much gas in the tank is left for some of their key players.
The Nets are one of the oldest teams in the league and they will have only one day to recover before playing a physically demanding game seven on the road. Paul Pierce played nearly 35 minutes, while Joe Johnson played almost 40, if the starters for the Nets are not at their best, it will be difficult for the Nets to come away with a victory on the road.
For the Raptors, there were many positive things to be taken from game six. Toronto shot 38.5 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from the three-point line. While DeMar DeRozan had yet another solid game with 28 points, the Raptors only had one other player score in double digits in Kyle Lowry’s 11.
The Raptors will need to move the ball better in game seven, as they only had 16 team assists in game six. Again the X-factor heading into the Raptors next game will be Terrence Ross. Ross struggled again in game six with six points on 3 of 9 shooting. All it takes is one stellar performance in game seven, and everyone will forget about the previous six games.
Two of the greatest words in professional sports are game seven. Game sevens have been a common theme in this year’s opening round of the playoffs, and in a series that has been as competitive as the Nets-Raptors, it is only fitting that it go the distance as well.
Commentary By Eric Kummel