The Toronto Raptors will look to avoid a 2-0 series deficit in their first-round Eastern Conference match-up when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the Air Canada Centre for Game 2 tonight. The Nets captured the first game of the series 94-87 on Saturday.
The action can be seen live on TSN, TSN GO and TSN Radio 1050 Toronto NOW.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson both scored a game-high 24 points and Kevin Garnett grabbed eight boards for the Nets, as the visitors claimed the opening game of the best-of-seven series. Kyle Lowry led the way for the home team, as he poured in 22 points in a team high 44 minutes and Jonas Valanciunas delivered a 17 point, 18 rebound performance in his playoff debut in the losing cause.
Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan struggled in his first playoff game, scoring 14 points off 3-for-13 shooting from the floor, including an 0-4 from behind the three point line.
"I think with as much energy was going on, it felt like things were going faster than they were," said DeRozan, "I don't need a whole other playoff round to get ready for it. I watched a lot of film. I understand. I'm definitely not going to make the same mistakes twice. It's adjustments."
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey knows his team needs come out on top of their second home game before the series shifts to Brooklyn.
"It's important we win," said Casey. "Going down 0-2 is very difficult to come out of. Must win? I don't think that means we're done (if we lose). We want to win but we still have games to be played. It would make it very difficult. I wouldn't say it's dire. It's tough, but it's not over with if (we lose).”
As for the mental state of his squad, Casey believes with the first game out of the way his team will be more composed and ready to rise to the level of their competition.
"We're disappointed but we're anxious to get a second chance at it," said Casey. "I think the second time around we'll get the first game jitters away, out of us. We know we're fighting a veteran, crusty team that's been there before. We worked on some things, made some adjustments in certain situations that we know we can do better."
Greivis Vasquez, who scored 18 points and added 8 assists for the Raptors in Game 1, does not believe the importance of the game will get to him or his teammates.
"We don't feel pressure, man, at all," said Vasquez. "We feel like the first game, we were anxious. I haven't been in the playoffs in two years. A couple of guys have been in the playoffs, too, but haven't been out there in a couple years."
Nets forward Paul Pierce, who had a 15 point performance in Game 1, said following the game that he thrives in tough moments on the road.
"I really feed off the emotions of the crowd, especially on the road,” said Pierce. “I think it's more gratifying than winning at home, I love those moments."
Only 16 of 255 teams in NBA history have ever comeback from an 0-2 deficit to capture a seven-game series.
With files from TSN Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg