The Nets played their best game of the playoffs Friday night in Brooklyn, with the support of a raucous home crowd, to keep their season alive and force a game 7 in Toronto on Sunday. Deron Williams, their star point-guard , criticized for his poor performances in games 4 and 5, redeemed himself last night with 23 points and 4 assists, outplaying Toronto's Dwight Lowry, despite rolling his ankle in the third quarter. Williams, like the rest of his team, was aggressive from the opening tip. He let his jumper fly with confidence and unleashed it when the defense gave him room, something he hasn't done in the last two games. "
"He showed a lot of heart, a lot of grit," Kevin Garnett said. "He was beat up a little bit, but he sucked it up and got through it. That's our leader." Jason Kidd agreed wholeheartedly. "It just shows what type of player he is. He stood up to what everyone said and he responded with one of his best games."
The Nets came out ready to play tonight, facing a win or go home situation. Kidd noted the difference in the team tonight and the take control attitude which spilled over from the fourth quarter in Toronto. "We came out with tremendous energy. We were aggressive from the start. For 48 minutes guys executed offensively and defensively. We shared the ball. The guys stepped up and made plays on both ends." The Nets shot 48.5% from the field, to Toronto's 38.5%. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points in defeat. Nets players in double figures included Joe Johnson , Pierce, and KG with 17, 12 and 13 points, respectively.
DeRozan and his young, inexperienced team did not come out with the intensity they needed to close the series. "We did not really realize we had Brooklyn against the wall and did not take advantage of it. They were throwing haymakers and we were not ready for it, "stated DeRozan. "We know it is 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.
The Nets know that too. Williams will get a lot of treatment on his ankle and the result of game 7 could be a direct result of how those sessions go. The Nets' players have considerable more experience in game 7 situations. Paul Pierce is looking forward to the challenge. "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 good players to great players. It's an exciting time, and we're going to enjoy it. It's 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."