It turns out, according to USA TODAY, that the mishap wasn't the fault of Air Canada Centre, but ESPN.
From the report:
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1) First and foremost: #LoveToronto. The on-court mess only seemed secondary to the off-court silliness, led by Toronto Raptors GM proclaiming "F--- BROOKLYN!" To hordes of screaming Raptors fans before the game. If you haven't seen the video, here's proof.
The remarks led to a later sorry-not-sorry apology from Ujiri, and an official statement from Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams that reminded us to "spread love, it's the Brooklyn way."
I agree. So how about in response, we spread love: they say #F---Brooklyn? We say #LoveToronto. Because, Love Toronto. Toronto can Love right off.
Brooklyn won Game 1. #LoveToronto.
2) The Nets forced turnovers. The Raptors out-rebounded the Nets 45-37, mostly thanks to Jonas Valanciunas's playoff franchise record 18 rebounds in 35 minutes. That's a battle the Nets have punted for all of 2014, and that won't change now: if the Nets want to win this series against the Raptors, they've got to force turnovers like they've done at a league-best rate since January 1st.
If the first game is any indication, it's good news. The Raptors and Nets played a 93-possession game, and 19 of Toronto's possessions ended with a turnover, right around Brooklyn's starters average in 2014. Some of Toronto's turnovers were just born out of pure Raptors sloppiness; Amir Johnson dribbled the ball away in Reggie Evans-like fashion the first time he touched the ball, Terrence Ross threw a pass to an imaginary teammate in the first row, and Jonas Valanciunas had an unforced turnover or two. But the "active hands" mantra was on full display, slapping away errant passes and loose dribbles easily.
The Raptors worst turnover came with a little over three minutes left and the Nets up three: Kyle Lowry dribbled around a bit, kicked the ball to Amir Johnson, Johnson couldn't find anyone, and gave it back to Lowry, who airballed a three-pointer for a shot clock/PA Announcer Yelling "Horn" violation.
That's the game in a nutshell: the Raptors looked tight, but the Nets also manned up very well to prevent Toronto from moving crisply. The ball doesn't even get inside the three-point line!
The Raptors can tighten up some of their mistakes, but the Nets should be encouraged by Toronto's game-long discomfort.
3) Holy three-point shooting. The Nets shot better from the field, picked up nine more field goal attempts, two more free throw attempts, and still needed some Paul Pierce heroics down the stretch to close out. That's because after Deron Williams hit a three-pointer with 2:59 left in the first quarter, the Nets missed nineteen straight threes until Paul Pierce buried the team's final three-point attempt of the game with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter.
The Nets, who have shot an average of 25.7 three-pointers per game in the new year at a 36.8 percent clip, hit just 4 of 24 threes for the game. Their bench combined to shoot 0-12 from three-point range. That's an anomaly, and likely won't happen again, but a wide-open Mirza Teletovic shooting an airball in his first real playoff minutes is not the best sign.
There was an odd moment -- and extended ending -- to Saturday afternoon's 94-87 Nets victory over the Toronto Raptors. Midway through the third quarter, the shot clocks suddenly shut off, causing a ten-minute delay in game action as the arena crew tried to get them working again. During the delay, Kidd asked one of the referees something weird: if his team could "warm up" while they waited for the shot clocks to turn on, causing a funny back-and-forth between him and the referee:
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The Brooklyn Nets won Game 1 of their playoff series against the Toronto Raptors 94-87, but if you look at any of the covers of newspapers covering the game, you might think it was a linguistic exhibition and not an athletic one.
But it's true. Before yesterday's 12:30 start, Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri said a bad word to his fanbase about Brooklyn, at a fan rally. I'm all for cursing, but before noon on a Saturday?
Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams released an official response to Ujiri's unseemly language, which you can see below.
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It's NBA Playoffs time. Thank you for your support of The Brooklyn Game all season. It means a lot that you read, watch, and interact with us. If you like the coverage you see here, support the system and check out The Brooklyn Game Store. There's some cool stuff there to brag about to all your friends and some of your enemies.
Game 1. Here's what happened.
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In the Brooklyn Nets 94-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the biggest question for the Nets in the victory was something that didn't happen: namely, bench player Andrei Kirilenko didn't enter the game once, the only DNP-CD on the team that's a regular part of their rotation.
It was something fans noticed all game: Kirilenko's expected to be their defensive anchor in the playoffs, but didn't enter the game once. Was he hurt? Was he being disciplined?
Kidd answered the question in his post-game press conference.... MORE →
After his fourth consecutive shot in crunch time fell, putting the Nets up seven with 51.5 seconds left, Nets forward Paul Pierce walked back towards the bench, pounding his chest.
"That's why they got me here!" Pierce said to his teammates. "That's why I'm here!"
In his 137th career playoff game, more than any other player in this Nets-Raptors series, Pierce didn't score once between the beginning of the second quarter and three minutes left in the game, shooting 2-9 from the field at that point.
But a quick three-pointer, a left-handed layup after a few extra steps, and two big jumpers brought the Nets from up three to up seven, sealing the first game of the Nets-Raptors series for Brooklyn with a 94-87 victory.
"He's been doing it for years," Dwane Casey said after the game about Pierce. "He's a Hall of Famer for a reason."
Pierce finished with 15 points, shooting 6 of 13 from the field in the Nets victory.
The Dinosaurs beat the clock.
Came out in the first quarter like a different Deron Williams: aggressive, looking for his own (good) shot, trying to draw contact and hitting threes. The Nets don't need Williams to dominate games in the playoffs, but he certainly dominated the first half.
Williams stepped back in the second half, letting Pierce and Johnson take over, and hit two crucial free throws to ice the game.
Love how he defended DeMar DeRozan in the first quarter, but followed that up with some silly bad fouls in the second quarter. He's the "glue" in their starting lineup -- he can defend DeRozan (or Lowry, or whichever top Raptors wing scorer is on the floor), and if he's making bad plays, they're going to struggle.
His short jumper is the best, though.
Seemed to get his own shot in the paint at will, bodying DeRozan in the paint and hitting floaters. Grabbed more rebounds than you'd think.
Opened the game with a contested three-pointer that I thought was a good sign for his game. Spent the next three quarters a complete non-factor, only hitting one field goal and getting blocked by bigger players on his drives.
Then Pierce hit a huge three-pointer to put the Nets up six with under three minutes left. Then later took an extra step or two en route to a left-handed layup. It's okay, because 3 steps by a U.S. player is only 2.5 once you translate them to Canadian currency. Then came the mid-range jumper with 2.7 off the SHOT CLOCK THAT DIDN'T EXIST. Then came ANOTHER dagger.
"That's why I'm here!" Pierce yelled to the bench after his fourth dagger put the Nets up 88-81 with 51.5 seconds left.
Yes it is, Paul. Thanks for coming.
He's still bringing the heat defensively, but if his matchup with Jonas Valanciunas is any indication, he's in for a tough series. Valanciunas bullied him inside throughout their matchup.
Andray Blatche is the worst pick-and-roll defender I've ever seen.
The enigmatic Andray Blatche was as up-and-down as ever, throwing a turnover away on his first possession, playing the inside well on offense and controlling the offensive glass in a way few other Nets can, and letting Raptors guards shimmy into the lane on pick-and-rolls with the resistance of a cotton ball.
The Nets can't have Blatche playing like this off the bench if they want to win this series.
This isn't a grade, but a reflection on possibly the biggest question mark of the day: with the rest of their bench struggling, where was he?
Had a couple of nice moments in the second quarter -- a Eurostep!? -- but little else.
In our playoff preview I said Teletovic was an X-Factor for this team -- if he's playing with the starters, he's going to get open three-pointers and he's got to knock them down.
They need him to hit shots for him to be valuable. He was not valuable. Not the prettiest playoff debut.
No dunks and five fouls in 11 minutes. Not his best debut, either.
— Brian R. Eilts (@theBrianEilts) April 19, 2014
— billfishkin (@billfishkin) April 19, 2014
— Michael Mills (@Gatorguy) April 19, 2014
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More charts from NetsonYES
A total of 15 fouls were called in the second quarter of Nets-Raptors alone, and that doesn't even count two Nets technicals. Here was the second: after Kyle Lowry & Andray Blatche got tangled up under the rim, Blatche shoves Lowry into the ground as he's getting up.
This is already an exciting, physical series. I'd do seven games of this.