TORONTO –- Kevin Garnett's mindset for Game 6 was easy to figure out.
And his teammates all knew it.
“[We] had our backs against the wall at home,” Garnett said after the Nets' 97-83 win over the Raptors in Game 6. "There was no way in hell that they was going to come in here and get a win.
“We are at home,” Garnett said. “Brook-lyn. Stamping that. Can’t come in here and get a win. Not when it’s like this. It was all on the line.”
With the Nets’ season hanging in the balance, the 37-year-old Garnett delivered his best playoff game of the series. He played his most minutes (27) and had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
If Garnett was this intense for Game 6, imagine what he and Paul Pierce will be like Sunday in Toronto.
Garnett, Pierce in Game 7s
This is, after all, why the Nets got Pierce and Garnett –- to provide the experience and leadership to win this type of winner-takes-all game.
And the veteran duo has played in a combined 14 Game 7s. By comparison, the Raptors’ entire roster has played in a total of seven Game 7s.
“They’ve been through every battle you could possibly go through in the playoffs,” Joe Johnson said. “So those guys have been tested, and they know how to handle certain situations, so it’s great to have those guys aboard.”
Pierce has played in eight of these games in his career –- second only to Ray Allen’s 11 among active players. Garnett has experienced six Game 7s as well.
The last time the two were in a Game 7 together was against the Heat on June 9, 2012.
Pierce is 4-4 lifetime in Game 7s, averaging 21.3 points and 6.6 rebounds. Garnett’s record is 4-2 and he averages 18.7 points and 11.3 rebounds.
In order to get to this one, Garnett had to provide the Nets with some clutch poise and leadership in the fourth quarter Friday night. The Raptors sliced a 26-point lead to 84-73 with 7:40 to go. But Garnett answered with a layup, a patented turnaround jumper and a block to help the Nets keep their lead.
“I had to go into a vintage bag of tricks,” Garnett said. “It worked for me. Same thing [has to happen] in Game 7. Stay aggressive.”
“I think Game 7s is just the mindset to go out and leave it out there,” Garnett added. “Like you should in every game.”
Except Game 7 is unlike any other game. It can determine legacies.
Pierce sounded calm and collected about Sunday. He has been here plenty of times so it’s nothing new.
“It’s going to be fun,” Pierce said. “This is what the NBA is all about, these pressure-type moments. These are the types of games that elevate good players to great players.
“We’re gonna enjoy it,” Pierce said. “We’re going into a hostile environment, win or go home. This is the type of situation that I love, that I love to be in and I love our chances.”