With the series split 1 game a piece, the Toronto Raptors are now in Brooklyn ready to play game 3 on the road against the Nets on Friday. Raptors had the 9th-best road record in the NBA this season, 22-19, and hopes that previous success can help them in their upcoming two games. While it will be no easy task to win at the Barclays Center on Brooklyn’s home floor, as the Nets had the 8th-best home record, 28-13.
Coming off a 30 point performance in the Raptors Game 2 win, and going into his first road playoff game, DeMar DeRozan feels that there will be no difference between being on the road or being at home and either way it’s going to be tough.
“I think all the tension, whatever we had was in Game 1. We wiped all that clean, wipe the slate clean. We understand what every single game is going to be like, it’s going to be a battle whether we’re home or away,” DeRozan said.
On the success of the team on the road this season, DeRozan says it’s their mindset of ‘us against the world’ that has helped them continually be able to perform against hostile crowds.
“Because we understand, you wanna call it the underdog, whatever you wanna call it, we go in there with that mindset. We feel like everybody is against us, and we out there to go against everybody. That’s our mind set honestly, every time we step on the road. You’ll see it before the name introductions we come in because we understand that it’s just us.”
“With us being professional athletes, you kind of feed off sometimes playing well, doing something the opposing crowd might not like. You take advantage of that, you go out there and have fun and play basketball. You really don’t think too much into it, and I think that’s what so good about us,” Derozan said of him and his teammates.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey expects a strong atmosphere in Brooklyn on Friday, but compliments his young core for having the resiliency and showing the maturity in front of opposing crowds all season on the road.
“They have a great crowd here, great fan base. We expect a rowdy house, we wouldn’t expect anything less, I think they’ve got a great basketball venue here,” Casey said.
“As a team our guys have been pretty resilient on the road, have a resolve of being together in a hostile atmosphere. So they’ve been pretty good. Being a young team is pretty unusual,” Casey said. “It’s a trait that they have that you can’t put your finger on why they have some resolve they do on the road. But this is going to be the first playoff atmosphere that they’ve had and it’s going to be exciting to see how they react under the bright lights.”
Coach Casey thinks the team really began to show that they could win consistently on the road during their 4-game road trip–in which they won 2 of 3 against tough western conference teams, just briefly after the acquisition from the Sacramento Kings.
“Well I go back to the Oklahoma, Dallas, and San Antonio road trip. Kind of right after the trade, we made that road trip out there we beat Oklahoma City, Dallas in overtime. I thought then we had a glimpse of what we had going forward then,” said Casey.