Nets hold off Raptors, grab 2-1 series lead
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets nearly wasted a 15-point lead with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but held off the Toronto Raptors, 102-98, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Joe Johnson had 29 points and Deron Williams added 22 with eight assists for Brooklyn. The Nets, who also received 18 points from Paul Pierce, bounced back from a 100-95 loss on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 for the Raptors. Patrick Patterson, who had 17 points, had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds remaining, but missed two free throws. The second attempt kicked off the heel of the rim and Toronto's Landry Fields touched the ball as he tried to save it in bounds.
Pierce drained two from the charity stripe with 14.6 seconds to go, but Amir Johnson's putback off a DeRozan miss made it a 100-98 game with 3.7 seconds left.
Joe Johnson made two more from the free-throw line less than a second later to seal the outcome and send the Raptors to their 13th straight road playoff loss. Toronto's last playoff road win came May 6, 2001 at Philadelphia.
"We got a little lackadaisical," admitted Joe Johnson. "It was very uncharacteristic of us to blow a lead like that."
Game 4 of this best-of-seven set is Sunday night, again at Barclays Center.
Jonas Valanciunas tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Lowry scored 15 before fouling out for Toronto.
A 3-pointer from Joe Johnson raised Brooklyn's lead to 93-78 with 5:02 remaining, but Toronto scored the next eight and the Nets nearly gave the game away.
Williams missed two foul shots with 40.7 seconds remaining, failing to extend a 97-93 lead. DeRozan drained a layup at the other end and was hit by Kevin Garnett, who fouled out. DeRozan made the foul shot with 34.3 seconds on the clock, but Shaun Livingston countered by making 1-of-2 from the charity stripe 14 seconds later.
The Raptors used a big surge in the latter stages of the opening quarter to grab a 23-19 edge after 12 minutes.
The Nets went 10-of-17 from the field in the second and grabbed a 49-45 edge at the half. Included in the period was a 12-1 Brooklyn run.
Brooklyn scored eight straight, all from Joe Johnson, during one juncture in the third to expand their lead to 63-52. The hosts led 77-66 moving to the fourth.
"We have to be aggressive for the whole game," DeRozan said. "Once they had the big lead we tried to fight back. We can't put ourselves in that situation."
Recording artist Rhianna sat courtside ... DeRozan is the first Raptor to have consecutive playoff games of at least 30 points ... Both teams were 29-of-37 at the foul line ... Andray Blatche had 12 points for the Nets.
04/25 23:07:00 ET