The Raptors and Nets followed the trend of this year’s NBA playoffs and will be playing in a game seven on Sunday. Toronto and Brooklyn will be one of five series that go to a decisive game in the opening round. That is most game seven’s in the history of the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
The Brooklyn Nets will carry the momentum into game seven after a 97-83 victory in game six, but the Raptors will hold home court advantage. The atmosphere outside of Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, which is now referred to as “Jurassic Park,” is sure to be electric for game seven.
The Nets will be looking to emulate the start they had in game six, as they got out to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back from there. Once the Nets took the lead with the first basket of the game, they held on to the lead for the remainder of the game.
Getting an early lead will be key to taking the Raptor’s crowd out of the game early. The Nets had only 12 turnovers in game six, and they also out-rebounded the Raptors by three. If they are able to come out ahead in these categories for a second straight game, they have a good chance at advancing to the second round.
Jason Kidd started Allen Anderson over Shaun Livingston in game six, and it appeared to pay off. Anderson scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds, and played solid perimeter defense in just over 30 minutes of action. The Nets have struggled to guard the Raptor’s perimeter players at times in this series, perhaps Allen Anderson is the answer.
For the Toronto Raptors, first and foremost, they will need to be more efficient on the offensive end. The Raptors shot just 38.5 percent from the field in game six and had 16 total assists. They will need to create better ball movement and floor spacing in order to crack the Nets defense in game seven.
They will also need more contributions from their supporting cast. DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points in game six, but the only other Raptor in double figures was Kyle Lowry with 11. The Raptors will need the likes of Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross to all come up big for them at home in game seven.
The Raptors have dominated the Nets on the glass for much of this series, but actually lost that battle in game six. Valanciunas has been a double-double machine for the Raptors in the series, but finished game six with nine points and nine rebounds. Toronto will need Valanciunas to continue to be a force on the boards, and will also need Amir Johnson to take advantage of his match-up with Paul Pierce on the glass.
Well there is nothing better than a game seven in professional sports. There will be three game sevens on Saturday in the NBA, with two more following on Sunday. The Raptors and Nets will be looking to make history on Sunday at 1:00PM EST, as neither franchise have ever won a game seven in the NBA playoffs. The winner of Sunday’s game seven will be rewarded with a match up against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Commentary By Eric Kummel