By: Jordan Patton
Well, here it is Brooklyn Nets fans: the most important game in Brooklyn Nets history to date. Now, I understand this is a debatable fact but I stand firm in my belief that this is absolutely the most crucial game the Nets have had since their move to Brooklyn last year. One could argue that last year’s game 7 vs. the Chicago Bulls was bigger as it was a game 7, however, that simply isn’t the case for a plethora of reasons. The most important reason is this year’s payroll: an NBA record $190 million will be flying out of owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s wallet, and for what – a first round exit to the Raptors? If the Nets lose this game than I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that this season was a total failure. THAT is why this is the most important game in Brooklyn’s short history. They either win tonight and Sunday in Toronto, or this team will forever be the punch line of jokes about overspending in sports.
Now, onto the game preview… where do I begin? The truth is I have absolutely no idea what we can expect to see tonight. Will we see the Nets that wowed us from January until early April? Or will it be the lifeless Nets that spotted the Raptors a 26-point lead in game 5? I’m sure I speak for all Nets fans when I say I sure hope that it is the former. While it is too hard to predict the actions of the Nets, I can certainly tell you what the Nets need to do tonight in order to take care of home court and head back to Toronto for a game 7 on Sunday. The Nets need Deron Williams to come out aggressively and outplay Kyle Lowry. You know what, strike that, Deron doesn’t have to outplay Lowry (which, let’s be honest, seems like an impossibility with how well Lowry has played this series) – he just has to be somewhere near as effective as Lowry. Either way, it is time for Deron to step up and play like the superstar everyone thought that he was in Utah. The Nets NEED Deron to step up tonight.
In a few short hours we will know which Nets team and which Deron Williams showed up tonight, Nets fans. I need to ask one simple thing of you though: no matter what happens tonight, please do not try to blame this game or this series on the officials. Players win and lose games, not refs. Sure refs miss a call here and there, but good teams win despite bad officiating. Good teams win no matter what. Tonight, we will find out if the Nets are a good team… or a punch line.