Down 3-2 in their first round Playoff series against the upstart Toronto Raptors, Paul Pierce’s Brooklyn Nets are a confident bunch despite having issues on the court, problems with the officiating, and even some mild antagonism with their own fans.
Pierce says none of that matters — The Truth fully expects to win Game 6 Friday night in Brooklyn, and fly back to Toronto for a decisive Game 7 on Sunday. Per ESPN:
When asked if Brooklyn can win two straight games to advance to the next round, Pierce displayed the kind of confidence the Nets need in order to win two straight games and climb out of their current hole down 3-2 in this best-of-seven series.
“Without a doubt,” Pierce said in the visitors’ locker room at the Air Canada Centre. “One game at a time, we got to take care of home. I think we will play better on Friday at home and we’ll see them back here Sunday.”
Sunday, of course, is a potential Game 7. In order to force an ultimate do-or-die game, the Nets have to do several things to stop the Raptors from ending their season on Friday in Game 6 at Brooklyn.
They’ll need to do something they haven’t done all series long — play their best basketball. Like the start of their season and their stunning turnaround, the Nets have been good and bad at times during each game of this series.
The Nets have to play aggressively and maintain that energy without any lulls. The man who has to set the tone for the Nets is Deron Williams.
In Brooklyn’s two wins in this series, Williams is averaging 23 points a game. And when he and Joe Johnson both have it going, the Raptors have problems. The duo averaged a combined 49.5 points and shot a total of 34-for-64 from the field in the two Brooklyn wins.
“We just got to play with a sense of urgency,” Williams said of the Nets playing aggressive throughout Game 6. “We have to now. If we lose, we’re done.”
And then there’s Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Nets gave up three first-round picks for the two future Hall-of-Famers to win this type of game. The duo, though, found themselves sitting during the entire fourth quarter cheering for the five that helped the Nets erase a 26-point lead.
Jason Kidd went with Williams, Johnson, Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson and Andray Blatche for almost the entire fourth during the comeback.
“This is about the Brooklyn Nets,” Kidd explained on Thursday when asked if he had to talk to Pierce and Garnett about not playing in the fourth. “It’s not about two guys. Those guys were cheering on the guys who were on the floor.”
In what could be the Nets’ final game of the season, Pierce and Garnett will likely be on the floor in the fourth quarter leaving everything they got. /p>
So much can happen with the Nets if their season ends in Brooklyn on Friday. You never know, it could end up being Garnett’s and Pierce’s last game as Nets. Ownership may want to make changes after a season that fell well short of expectations. Management could try to trade some of the bigger contracts if possible.