Here are five thoughts on the Eastern Conference first-round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets following Game 5, including the play of Kyle Lowry, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce, as well as head coaches Jason Kidd and Dwane Casey. 1. KYLE LOWRY: Brilliant in Game 5. Watching him Wednesday night brought me back to watching Allen Iverson torch the Raptors in the 2001 playoffs. Considering Lowry is a Philly guy and one of the guys he looked up to as a young player was Iverson, I couldnt help myself but to draw comparisons. A totally different players but one quality that truly makes them alike is that they are both incredible competitors. Not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog. In the last five quarters of play (Game 4, 4th quarter and Game 5), other than the magic of Vince Carter, I cant recall a better stretch of play ever from a Raptor on so many fronts. Enjoy it - Im mesmerized by it. 2. JOE JOHNSON: Give him credit. Major bounce-back in the second half of Game 5. He was close to unstoppable. Raptors did everything they could to contain/control him and he was that much better. Im sure a significant focus of game planning for Game 6 will centre on tightening the screws on both the individual coverages associated with him and the collective scheme based upon the help you have to give his defender. He is an absolute load. Im so impressed by his talent. 3. RAPTORS FIRST THREE QUARTERS VS. 4TH QUARTER: It looked like five guys stole Raptors shirts early in the 4th and tried to imitate the real guys. In the first three quarters we saw the Raptors at their truly best - ball movement, defensive energy, effort, discipline and most importantly, a collective will and confidence that the crowd fed off of. In the fourth, we saw a team that cruised and thought it would be easy and let up with its focus. Very fortunate that they hung on, yet when I reflect on it for the majority of the game they were far better, which is good. Now its about learning from that lesson and growing. Remember back in early December at Golden State? It was the Raptors biggest collapse in franchise history and lost to the Warriors. This time, a huge collapse as well - the difference - they won and won on a much more meaningful stage than the stage back in Oakland. Speaking of Oakland, the late Al Davis (Oakland Raiders) would say just win, baby! They did. One to go but it wont be easy. Their competition has lots to play for; it should be a major challenge and lots of fun to watch. 4. KG AND PAUL PIERCE: They were spectators Wednesday night in the 4th quarter and Im sure both men will be ready to go Friday night in response to that. I dont think there have been many times in either guys career that they sat and watched at crunch time. Im sure well see two angry/ornery guys in Brooklyn talking smack and challenging their teammates and the crowd to be at optimal level. Lots of folks piling on KG these days. I respect what hes done in his career. Is he the player he once was? No, but his effort and will to win are still there all the time. Pierce - Hes still got a lot left and his matchup at the four spot is still a tough cover for the Raptors, yet I do like that the Raps are now making him guard his guy and attacking him. Fully expect both guys to come out firing guns blazing. Be prepared. 5. JASON KIDD AND DWANE CASEY: Both coaches, Im sure, are working on their teams collective psyche as we enter Game 6. Kidd challenged his team before Game 5 to be much better in the 4th quarter after being outplayed by the Raps in Games 3 and 4 in the defining stanza. They were awesome in the 4th Wednesday night… the other three quarters, not so impressive. Im sure hes pushing momentum and carryover. Coach Casey will hammer the fact that you must sustain and play every possession at the max and learn/build on the fact that you won, yet have to respect the little details of the game. You also sell that momentum in a series that lasts only as long as you allow it to or make it happen. As much as the Nets want to sell that theyre now going to pick up where they left off, youve got to sell that the score always takes care of itself if you do the right things. You concentrate on doing the right things" each possession and youll find a way in Game 6, or if necessary, Game 7. Wont be easy to put Brooklyn away Friday but it can be done. Dictate the tone and personality of Game 6 right at the start. Winning/losing - thats too much sometimes to focus on. Dive into the details of what it takes to succeed and youll handle the pressure of a road game better. 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Brassard and Coyotes defenceman Derek Morris were battling for position in the crease when a nudge from Morris sent Brassard on top of Smith late in the third period.Mercedes gave an inadvertent nose job to Lewis Hamiltons W07 during practice on Thursday. With the car in the garage approaching the end of Practice Two, the bottom of the jack slipped out of position from under the cars front wing, with the top coming down to pierce a hole in the nosecone.Hamiltons running was not affected, but the broken nose had to be replaced. Asked about the incident later, Mercedes chief Paddy Lowe admitted it was news to him: I didnt see that! Once told what had happened, Lowe, who explained the pitwalls position above the garages in Monaco meant he hadnt seen it, said: Thats not great.dddddddddddd We havent done that before, well try not to do it again!Hamilton finished second fastest on Thursday, as Mercedes were outpaced by Daniel Ricciardos Red Bull.Watch the Monaco GP live on Sky Sports F1. The race starts at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up underway at 11.30am. Or watch the race without a contract for £6.99 on NOW TV. Also See: Merc: Drivers acting maturely Lauda wants new Nico deal sorted ' ' '