Nets drop Game 4, heads back to Toronto with series even

April 28, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Nets have dominated at the Barclays Center this season, so entering Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead over the Toronto Raptors, it looked like they had a chance to take a commanding lead in their first round playoffs series.

However, the Nets couldn’t close out the fourth quarter against the Raptors. They were limited to just two points over the final six minutes on their way to a 87-79 loss on Sunday night.

“It’s very disappointing,” Kevin Garnett said. “We want to take advantage of being at home and we, obviously, want to take advantage of winning up there. Each side did what they were supposed to do, we got one up there, they got one in here. It’s a dogfight. That’s what it is.”

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Joe Johnson had been a force for the Nets previously in the series, but was held to just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor Sunday night as the Raptors seemed to focus their defense on him.

“Their defense was a big difference today,” Johnson said. “I looked up and there were usually three guys coming at me at once. I just tried to make the right play and let other guys make plays. Just down the stretch, we didn’t make plays.”

Without Johnson to lead the way, the Nets struggled offensively all night. They went down 13-2 early and were down by 17 in the second quarter. Paul Pierce scored 10 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Nets managed to rally to take the lead, but the veteran team couldn’t capitalize on the comeback. Toronto held Brooklyn were to just 12 fourth quarter points.

“We didn’t score,” Deron Williams said. “We didn’t score a bucket in maybe the last four minutes of the game. 87 points from our opponents is usually enough to win the game, but when you can’t score and turn the ball over it’s tough to win.”

Williams also put some of the blame on himself as he was limited to just 10 points and six assists. “I know that I have to be more aggressive,” He said. “The last three quarters I really wasn’t a factor so that’s disappointing.”

The Raptors, who got 24 points from DeMar DeRozan and 22 points from Kyle Lowry, did a much better job protecting the ball in this game. Where they had been averaging roughly 20 turnovers a game earlier in the series, they only committed 10 turnovers in Game 4. Meanwhile, the Nets committed a series-high 16 turnovers including six during a sloppy fourth.

“Turnovers hurt us for sure,” Shaun Livingston said. “You can’t make shots that you don’t get off and then it gives them more possessions and let’s them get going. For us, we have to get better, myself included. We have to be better with the ball. It was very uncharacteristic of us. I’ll be better.”

It was the second game in a row that the Nets struggled in the fourth quarter, which is typically something they don’t do. After the game, multiple players suggested that the team had a lot of work to do in watching videotape to find out why that was happening. The idea, though, is that this veteran team should not have a big problem adjusting by Game 5 in Toronto on Wednesday.

“There have been so many games played by the players in our locker room,” Andrei Kirilenko said. “We’ve been in different kinds of situations, losing, winning, losing then winning after that. I think that’s great experience and it will help us recover after games like this. Yeah, we lost, but we have games to play and we can’t drop our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves.

“We just need to recover, think about the next game, analyze and don’t make the same mistakes again and keep playing.”

With the series now tied at 2, the Nets and Raptors will head to Toronto on Wednesday where they will play Game 5. After that, they will head back to Brooklyn for Game 6 on Friday night.

“You (can’t) get caught up in the emotions and look back into what you could have done, you’ve just got to move on,” Pierce said. “You’ve just got to say ‘We gotta get the next one, we have got to win on their floor again,’ and that’s it.”

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