Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nets Comeback Falls Short in Toronto Game 5

RAPTORS 115 / NETS 113 
TOR leads 3-2

Now the Nets have their backs to the wall. In a series where they were heavy favorites, against an inexperienced Toronto Raptors team Brooklyn now finds itself down 3-2 on the brink of elimination. They look old, the Raptors look rejuvenated, young and raring to go.

While Wednesday night saw the Nets put together a miraculous fourth quarter run of 27-7 to erase a deficit that was once 26 points, it was too little too late as Brooklyn couldn't stop the man that had killed all night long, and all series long.

Kyle Lowry was tremendous. He tallied 21 points in the first half alone, and was the sole reason Toronto blew the Nets out of the Air Canada center in the first half. He nailed four buckets and three free throw shots in the final 4:27 of the second quarter to turn a 40-40 game into a 62-44 Raptors halftime lead. His three-pointer from half court, while falling was an exclamation point to his performance.

Yet, here were the Nets with a chance to erase it all. Brooklyn came into the fourth quarter down 19, 91-72, and slowly pulled their way back into the game.

Andre Blatche, Deron Williams, Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic hit the shots they needed to hit to pull Brooklyn back to within reason at 97-87, before Williams hit a pair of free throws to make the deficit eight, and the Nets were starting to believe, and with that Joe Johnson caught fire. Johnson connected on a layup and foul to cut the Raptor lead to five 101-96, then he hit a floating jumper to cut the deficit to a field goal with 3:51 to play.

Feeling the momentum had completely turned Johnson drilled a three pointer from downtown to tie it at 101. It appeared that the Nets were on their way having just completed a 27-7 run. However as wonderful the comeback was the Nets never took the lead once in the fourth quarter.

Toronto's hero, Lowry hit a couple of free throws to give the Raptors the lead, 103-101, seconds later Greivis Vasquez nailed a three pointer of his own to push the lead back to five points. 

The were able to tie it again on Teletovic's three pointer, but Brooklyn got sloppy in the final 50 seconds, as Toronto pulled away with a well played game of free-throws and fouls.

Leading 115-112, the Raptors decided to foul the Nets instead of letting them set up Johnson for a three pointer. Blatche hit the first free throw, missed the second on purpose to get the defensive rebound. Amazingly Blatche was able to get to the basketball and had Deron Williams wide open for a three, but Blatche's pass sailed over Williams' head for the back-court violation. Ball game.

The Nets now find themselves down 3-2. This was supposed to be a series that Brooklyn was to win fairly easily, instead it is anything but. The Nets have to win game six at home or else, but even if they do, the Raptors are playing with such confidence right now, the Nets are serious danger of being ousted in the first round for the second straight season.

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