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Brooklyn Nets-Toronto Raptors Series Heating up as Teams Exchange Barbs

April 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 AM
By Martin Mihaly

'Paul Pierce' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The first round playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors is now getting very testy.  

The two teams split their regular season series at two games a piece.  In the last couple of games, the idea was thrown around that maybe the Nets were tanking just so they could see the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.  Maybe the Raptors did not openly say they thought the Nets tanked their final two games just so they could see Toronto in the first round, but it does not hurt to use that as motivation.  

Then came a final rally in Toronto on Friday, the day before the first game of the series.  Raptors GM Masai Ujiri dropped the first true shot of the series by directing an expletive at the Nets and their city.  Ujiri's f-bomb ended up being an extremely expensive saying as it cost him $25,000 when the NBA fined him.  

Later, during an interview session at halftime of Game 1, Ujiri explained, "Wrong choice of words there."  He then added, "I don't like them.  I apologize."

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Did Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets Purposely Tank to Face Toronto Raptors?

April 17th, 2014 at 12:41 AM
By Martin Mihaly

'Deron Williams, Jason Kidd' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

With two games remaining, the Brooklyn Nets needed just one win to secure the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.  The Washington Wizards were lurking in the background, two games behind the Nets and owning a potential tie-breaker.  The Toronto Raptors were tied with the Chicago Bulls with the third best record in the Eastern Conference.  The Raptors held the tie-breaker and therefore owned the third seed in the conference.  As it was the Nets were set to face the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, while the Raptors would face the Wizards.

Now, things are different.

Starting Saturday, the sixth seeded Nets will face-off versus the third seeded Raptors.  On Sunday, the Wizards will be visiting the Bulls.  

So, how did this happen?

The Raptors and Bulls each went 1-1 in their final two games.  The Wizards went 2-0.  The Nets, on the other hand, went 0-2.

Brooklyn's losses look somewhat mystifying at first glance.  The team lost convincingly against the New York Knicks at home and at the Cleveland Cavaliers, two none playoff teams that the Nets should be able to beat.

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Brooklyn Nets Appear to Be Locked into Fifth Seed

April 13th, 2014 at 11:45 PM
By Martin Mihaly

'Deron Williams' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

With the NBA Playoffs beginning next weekend, the Brooklyn Nets will be hitting the road.  Their opponent will be either the Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors.   No matter their opponent, this will be a difficult first round matchup for the Nets.  The Nets have no way of moving up in the standings with just two games remaining.  They can still slip to the sixth spot if the Nets lose their final two games and the Washington Wizards win each of theirs.  

Against the Bulls this season, the Nets went 1-2.  Facing the Bulls would be rematch of the seven-game series in last year's playoffs.  However, last year's series was between two much different teams.  Some things have remained the same, though.  Bulls center Joakim Noah has given the Nets fits over the last two seasons.  Noah is truly one of the very best center's in the NBA with his diverse skill set.  Carlos Boozer is still a very difficult post player.  Jimmy Butler is a terrific defender who has developed into an all-around player with his offensive skill development.  Kirk Hinrich is very much the pest on the defensive end as he has been throughout his career.  Tom Thibodeau continues to get his players to play hard every night.

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Brooklyn Nets Final Stretch in Regular Season: Resting Players Vs. Playing Them

April 4th, 2014 at 10:17 AM
By Martin Mihaly

'Jason Kidd' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd is about to embark on his first playoff experience of his head coaching career.  With just eight games remaining, the Nets currently sit in the fifth slot in the Eastern Conference standings, 2 1/2 games behind the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls for the third and fourth places and 1 1/12 games ahead of the Washington Wizards who are in the sixth spot.

At a record of 40-34, the rest of the Nets schedule includes three sets of back-to-back games.  For the season, Brooklyn is just 5-12 in the second night of back-to-backs.  Most recently on Wednesday night, the Nets were drubbed by the New York Knicks by a final score of 110-81 in Madison Square Garden.  Luckily for the Nets, there are no back-to-backs in the playoffs.

As the season winds down, Kidd will be faced with a tough situation.  Should he rest his players or play them?

It is a tough situation to monitor.  Kidd wants his players to be healthy and well rested for the playoffs.  He also does not want the Nets to enter the playoffs out of sync.

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Brooklyn Nets Home Court Dominance Vital to Playoff Positioning

March 30th, 2014 at 4:03 PM
By Martin Mihaly

'Brooklyn Nets Practice Facility' photo (c) 2012, Maxim Pierre - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn has been a pleasant place of late for the hometown Brooklyn Nets and the teams fans.  Coming into Sunday's afternoon matchup with Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Nets have won 12 straight home games.  

Prior to a home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on February 3rd, the Nets were just 12-11 in their own arena.  Since then they have reeled off 13 straight victories at home.  They have defeated the likes of the Sixers, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Bobcats (twice), Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.  Their last loss at home was to the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 1st.  The Nets now have a 24-11 record at home.

The Nets home surge has been led by Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston.  Kevin Garnett has missed several games now for the Nets due to back spasms and Andrei Kirilenko has missed time due to an ankle injury.  Brooklyn has also added Marcus Thornton, Jason Collins and Jorge Gutierrez to go with Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic.  

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