Finally, the moment the Brooklyn Nets have been waiting quite a long time for – the opening game of the postseason. Following a crushing Game 7 loss at home to the Chicago Bulls last year, Brooklyn’s quest for redemption – and what they hope will turn into much more – begins on Saturday afternoon when they make their way across the border to take on the Toronto Raptors.
And if the Nets do not intend on disappointing with an early playoff exit once again, they cannot afford to drop Game 1 of this series.
It may sound simple enough, win Game 1 and the butterflies will fade into pure basketball-related thoughts. But for Brooklyn, the first game of this series should be approached with an elimination game-type mentality. Why?
Because the Nets struggled much too much on the road this season to be playing from behind in a series where they find themselves to be the lower seed. Despite a rather impressive 28-13 record compiled at Barclays Center this season, Brooklyn finished with a road mark of just 16-25.
As much as coach Jason Kidd would hope that things could just magically change simply because the significance of the games has increased dramatically, it would be difficult for him or anyone else to bet on it at this point.
Winning Game 1 would provide the Nets with a little bit of wiggle room moving forward in the series. If they just so happened to drop the second game following a victory in the opener, they’ll still feel great about their chances tied up at one going home for the next two contests.
On the flipside, losing Game 1 could be a death sentence for the Nets. Even more pressure would be felt in Game 2, and falling in both contests would lead to a difficult mountain to climb no matter where the following games are being played.
Therefore, Brooklyn might as well treat Game 1 as if it’s Game 7. It wouldn’t hurt their chances at all.