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1 month 18 hours ago #4761

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Dwane Casey admitted hed been concerned about his young Raptors team who had zero experience playing in close-out games -- what awaited them with the vastly-experienced Brooklyn Nets, and how theyd react. It turned out, the Toronto coach had good reason to be. The Raptors couldnt overcome a horrible first quarter -- their worst 12 minutes of the series -- en route to a 97-83 loss to Brooklyn Nets on Friday, sending the series back to the Air Canada Centre tied at three games apiece. "Any Game 6, a team is going to come out with a desperate mindset," Casey said. "This team they built to win a championship this year. Theyre going to come out and give you their best shot. . . knew that coming in and tried to warn our team. "Guys who havent been in Game 6 before, its one of the toughest things to do. Again, experience is the best teacher. Now were going into Game 7, its our first time at that. Luckily we have it at home." DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points but got little help from the rest of the Raptors who trailed 34-19 at the end of the first quarter against a Nets team that was facing elimination. Now its down to one game for Toronto to make the second round of the post-season for just the second time in the franchises 19-year history, and a date with the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat. "Yeah, its Game 7," Kyle Lowry said. "We all grew up watching Game 7s and want to be a part of Game 7s. Weve still got to go out there and not be too over anxious. Weve still got to go out there and do what we need to do. "Me personally, Im not going to be all amped up. Its going to be a game that we have to go home and win." Theyll clearly need a better effort than they gave Friday. Lowry was the only other Raptor to score in double figures with 11 points. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds, while Greivis Vasquez added nine points. "We just didnt come out with the competitive nature that we needed tonight," Lowry said. "They did an unbelievable job of forcing their will on the game tonight, but we have to find a way to match that intensity." Deron Williams, playing on a bad ankle for the better part of the second half, led the Nets with 23 points, while Joe Johnson added 17 points, Kevin Garnett finished with 13 and Paul Pierce added 12. "We were at home. Brooklyn. You cant come in here and get a win, not when its like this," said Garnett. "It was all on the line and thats what we did. I had to go into my vintage bag of tricks. Its the same thing in Game 7. Stay aggressive." Coming off victories in Games 4 and 5, the Raptors were outhustled and outplayed by the Nets from the outset Friday, looking much like the fourth-quarter Raptors in Game 5 on Wednesday that coughed up a 26-point lead yet still managed to hold on to win. The Nets -- who assembled an all-star squad this season, trading for Pierce and Garnett with sights set on an NBA title -- played easily their best basketball of this series. "We started the game out with the opposite disposition that we wanted to, I thought they came out in a desperate mode and we didnt," Casey said. "We didnt start to play that way until we got knocked down in the second half. Thats what the playoffs are about, your start probably tells you how youre going to finish. And tonight, they got their foot on the pedal a lot quicker than we did." Toronto trailed by 26 points midway through the third and went into the fourth down 79-59. The Raptors pushed back in the fourth, opening with a 17-7 run to pull within 10 on a three-pointer by Lowry with 5:02 to play. With the fans at the Barclays Center on their feet, Williams drained a three with 1:13 to play that put the Nets up by 13 and secured the victory for Brooklyn. The fans chanted "U-S-A!" as the final seconds ticked down. A grinning Garnett high-fived Jay-Z. DeRozan who, along with starters Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, had never played in the post-season before this, said the Raptors werent ready for the intensity of a Game 6. "We didnt really realize, we had Brooklyn against the wall and we didnt take advantage of it like we should have," he said. "We should have known they were going to come out throwing haymakers, and we werent ready for it until the second half." Outside the Barclays Center, there were tongue-in-cheek missing person posters taped to posts of Williams, that read: "MISSING Have you seen this person?" above Williams mug shot. Reward was listed as $63,128,400 -- the amount remaining on the point guards contract. Williams showed up Friday, but the Raptors didnt. Despite spraining his left ankle early in the third quarter, Williams made good on 8-of-16 shots from the floor and dominated his matchup with Lowry, who shot 4 for 16. The Nets shot 47 per cent from the field, while the Raptors shot 38 per cent on the night. Toronto was outrebounded 45-42. With the Nets cobbling together their star-studded lineup with its payroll plus taxes of more than US$180 million, experience was a theme early in the series -- Pierce alone had almost as many post-season appearances as the entire Raptors roster prior to Game 1. And it reared its head again Friday with the Raptors response to Game 6. Pierce said he cant wait for Game 7. "Its going to be fun," Pierce said. "This is what the NBA is all about -- these pressure-type moments. These are the types of games that elevate good players to great players. We have so many of them coming up this weekend, its an exciting time, and were going to enjoy it. Its a 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." Casey, however, doesnt believe this loss will affect his teams confidence in its win-or-go home game on Sunday. "To listen to some of this (talk of losing momentum), we may as well not play Game 7," Casey said. "Every game is different and I know our team will bounce back. Weve got to come out of the gates a lot fresher, a lot harder, especially starting on the defensive end of the floor." The sellout crowd of 17,732 included Drake, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Rosie ODonnell, Ellen Pompeo -- Meredith on "Greys Anatomy", New York Giants receiver Mario Manningham, and Brooklyn rapper Fabulous, who announced the Nets lineup. There were numerous pockets of red-clad Raptors fans who stood out against the Nets fans, wearing white T-shirts as part of a giveaway. This series has been drama-filled since Game 1 when Raptors GM Masai Ujiri dropped his famous F-bomb about Brooklyn -- earning him a US$25,000 fine -- and the shot clocks malfunctioned at the Air Canada Centre. There was Drake and his lint roller, and the huge crowds that packed Maple Leaf Square for every game, home and away. Several thousand braved the chilly temperatures again Friday to watch the game on the big screen outside the Air Canada Centre. Nets coach Jason Kidd was fined US$25,000 earlier Friday by the NBA for public criticism of officiating. The New York Daily News back cover photo Friday morning was of the Brooklyn coach, under the headline "Whiny Kidd." When asked about the fine prior to tipoff, Kidd replied: "Fine? Its a beautiful day today isnt it? Did it rain?" The Raptors trailed by double digits less than eight minutes into the game. DeRozan scored 10 points in the first, but got little help from his teammates, and the Raptors trailed 34-19 heading into the second. It was more of the same in the second, a putback layup by Andray Blatche giving the Nets a 21-point advantage with four-and-a-half minutes left in the half. Former Raptor Alan Anderson drained a 17-foot step-back jumper with less than a second on the clock to put the Nets up 60-41 heading into the halftime break. A three-pointer by Pierce gave the Nets a 26-point lead five minutes into the third quarter, and the Nets took a 79-59 lead into the fourth. ArDarius Stewart Jersey . - Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was so busy in free agency he didnt mind having a few extra weeks to prepare for the draft. Terrence Brooks Jersey . "That was a great lift for the staff," Padres manager Bud Black said. Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal homered, and Chase Headley drove in three runs, as the Padres beat the Chicago Cubs 11-1 on Friday night. www.authenticjetsfanatic.com/c-43-jets-j...-jenkins-jersey.aspx . -- Theres something about playing on Orlandos floor lately that seems to bring out the best in the Dallas Mavericks. Lorenzo Mauldin Jersey . The alleged sexual assault is believed to have happened over the weekend of Feb. 1, when the hockey team was in Thunder Bay for two games against Lakehead University. The criminal investigation branch of the Thunder Bay Police Service is leading the investigation with help from Ottawa police. Ben Ijalana Jersey . Kalish got his first hit since Sept. 11, 2012, when he rapped an RBI triple in the first inning Sunday in the Chicago Cubs 8-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.TORONTO -- Olympic silver medallist Patrick Chan still hasnt watched the tape of his performance at the Sochi Olympics. Hes not planning to any time soon. Chan had a strong opportunity to become Canadas first Olympic mens figure skating champion last February, but struggled in his free skate and finished behind Japans Yuzuru Hanyu. "It took me some time at the games to get over the disappointment of being so close, yet so far," Chan said. "I had a couple of reminders when I was on tour in Japan skating with Yuzuru in the shows. That didnt help, either. So the last thing I want do is look back at the programs, even though some things were great. "Knowing me, Im a perfectionist, Ill just pick on the bad stuff. It will eat away at me. For me, the best way to cope with how I did is just look at those two medals I got and look at them as two great silver medals." Canada also wound up second in the team event behind host Russia. "Silver medals that a lot of people dream to have and then move on," Chan added. "Move on by sharing it with Canada, sharing it with people here. That helps me cope withh that bit of a disappointment.dddddddddddd" Chan didnt try to win a fourth straight world title this year. He skipped the event in Japan, and Hanyu took gold there as well. Chan, 23, has yet to decide if hes up for another four-year cycle of training and competitions ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Hes skipping the Grand Prix season and will wait until later this year before making a decision on the Canadian championships in January and the worlds in March in Shanghai

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