Raptors lose NBA playoff opener against Nets

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan drives against Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin...

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan drives against Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett during Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, April 19, 2014. (CLAUS ANDERSEN/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:08 PM ET

TORONTO - Experience, despite what the young Raptors tried to tell themselves coming into this thing, is a difference-maker.

And in the first NBA playoff game for this team and the first for this city in six years, it was as plain as the white T-shirts that blanketed a sold-out Air Canada Centre.

No one needed look any further than the 19 turnovers the Raptors committed, the determining factor in head coach Dwane Casey’s opinion in a 94-87 Game 1 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

From DeMar DeRozan, who disappeared under the type of playoff defensive pressure he can expect from here on out, to Jonas Valanciunas who, despite a great day on the boards and on the scoresheet, was the chief culprit in the giveaway department with six, the Raptors’ first-timers got a rough taste of the post-season — some rougher than others.

Terrence Ross, who began the game on Deron Williams — and was doing a pretty decent job of it — got into early foul trouble, forcing Kyle Lowry back on to Williams which meant more of the star point guard’s energy was spent on defence.

The Nets were led by 24 points apiece from Williams and Joe Johnson and, while the Raptors threatened at times, the wily Nets never let them get north of four points ahead of them.

Lowry finished with a team-high 22.

Down the stretch, it was Father Time or, more precisely, Paul Pierce, settling this one almost by himself as he scored nine of 11 Nets points (the other two went to the Nets other grizzled vet Kevin Garnett) in the pivotal stretch of the game. Before Pierce went to work, it was a one-point game. When he was done, the lead had stretched to six and grew from there.

Speaking after the game, Casey sounded, and was, the least surprised guy in the building.


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