Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hot Stuff

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hot Stuff

Article excerpt

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry barreled down the lane in the final seconds of Game 7. The Raptors' point guard intended to down the most expensive team in NBA history.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were there, waiting for him.

All the hype, the full weight of expectation the Nets have been carrying since last summer, came down to one moment Sunday.

Get the stop, or go home.

"I saw him go up; I went up with him," Pierce said. "Got my hand on the ball. Game over."

Series over, too.

Brooklyn beat Toronto, 104-103, at Air Canada Centre. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 26 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to help the Nets hold on.

The Nets move on to face the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Miami.

Brooklyn began the season with championship expectations, and a payroll approaching $200 million. But in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Nets blew a 10-point lead. With 6.2 seconds remaining, the Raptors had the ball with a chance to end the Nets' season.

But as Lowry began to dribble through the heart of the Nets' defense, Garnett stripped him. By the time Lowry collected the ball, Pierce was there waiting. He blocked Lowry's shot just before time expired.

The buzzer sounded. Lowry fell to the ground and put his hands over his head. The Nets streamed onto the court to celebrate.

"Paul was in foul trouble the whole night," Garnett said. "I don't think he scored [in the] second half. ... But when we needed a big play, he came up with the big play, and that can be anybody in this locker room. [Coach] Jason [Kidd] repeated that over and over, that it might not be who you think it is. It might be you tonight."

And in Game 7, fittingly, it was Garnett and Pierce who had a hand in the biggest play of all.

In July, the Nets traded three future first-round draft picks for the two aging stars. The Nets, as their marketing slogan suggested, were going "All In" on contending for a championship now.

And Pierce, 36, and Garnett, 37, were to give them the mental toughness, experience and poise they had lacked a year ago. It remains to be seen what will happen against LeBron James and the Heat -- who the Nets swept, 4-0, in the regular season. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.