By Jason Schott - @JESchott19
The Nets and Raptors have played a classic series that has gone the distance, with a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm on ABC.
This is the second straight year the Nets will play a Game 7 in the first round. A year ago, against the Chicago Bulls, the Nets fell behind 3-1 in the series after losing Game 4 in Chicago in triple-overtime. They responded by winning Game 5 at home and gutted out a win in Game 6 in Chicago. In Game 7 in Brooklyn, the Bulls dominated and jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first half and the Nets were outmuscled throughout the game. That forced the Nets to remake their roster with the big trade a couple of months later to bring in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston.
Nets point guard Deron Williams said of this being about redemption for what happened against Chicago a year ago, "It's a similar situation. We're on the road, but it's a game seven. We definitely remember that game, but like I said, this is a new team. I've said it a million times. This is a new team, a new season."
Nets forward Paul Pierce spoke of the Nets' experience being an advantage in Game 7. "It's going to be fun. This is what the NBA is all about - these pressure type moments. These are the types of games that elevate the good players to great players.
"We have so many of them coming up this weekend. It's an exciting time, and we're going to enjoy it. It's hostile environment - win or go home. Hey, this is the type of situation that I love and want to be in. I love our chances," said Pierce, who had a determined look on his face during his Game 6 postgame press conference.
Williams said, "We're excited about this opportunity. I've been on a team that won a game seven on the road before (with the Utah Jazz, winning at the Hosuton Rockets 103-99 in the 2007 first round), so it can be done. It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of grit and we've got to be ready to go, like Paul (Pierce) said, into a hostile environment."
On if Williams has a feeling of how bad his ankle injury that he suffered in the third quarter Friday night was and how it might feel in Game Seven, he said, "Hopefully, I'm going to get a lot of treatment between now and the game. I should be ready to go."
Nets center Andray Blatche said of Game 7, "It's totally something different. We have to come out there the same way that we came tonight, aggressive and hungry, and keep it in the back of our mind that we don't want to go home."
On if Brooklyn's experience will help in Game 7, Blatche said, "Yeah, definitely. I think we just need to take this momentum from this game into the next. I think our momentum will carry over. I think we found a recipe in getting a win on defense and offense, and controlling the paint."
Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan said of Game 7, "We know it's win-or-go-home. Everything is on the line now and we know we have to play from the jump ball to the end of the game or we go home."
Toronto Head Coach Dwane Casey said after Friday night's Game 6 of there being no momentum in this series and each game being its own, "It is, it still is. Tonight's is no different; the next game will be something totally different. I think if you look at the series the way it's going it's been like a roller coaster the whole time. Every game has been different; tonight's game was different. You take away the first quarter (Nets 34-19), and it's what, 64-63? The way we started the game, it was the way we ended the game last time (Game 5). You're trying to say the momentum carried over from last time. They may have, that's fine, but I still say every game is different. Sunday's game will be different; it'll be something else we talk about."