Raptors beat Nets, end road playoff skid
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - A hot start, a hard-nosed finish, a tied series.
The Raptors are headed back to Toronto with home-court advantage.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 points, Kyle Lowry scored 22 and the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 87-79 in Game 4 on Sunday for their first road playoff win in almost 13 years.
The Raptors tied the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at 2-2 heading into Wednesday's Game 5.
They opened the game with a 13-2 run and ended it with a 9-0 flourish, holding the Nets scoreless for almost five minutes at the end to snap a 13-game road playoff losing streak.
"They're a competitive group. We've seen that all season," said forward Paul Pierce, whose Nets finished four games behind the Raptors in the Atlantic Division. "This is a group that's not going to back down."
Lowry stirred the offense early, threading a bounce pass to Jonas Valanciunas for a dunk and knocking down a 3-pointer several feet behind the arc to cap the game-opening run.
And when the third-seeded Raptors needed a big play late, their point guard was there again.
Lowry, playing on a sore knee, made a running hook shot over Kevin Garnett for a six-point cushion with 1:13 left.
Lowry and DeRozan were a combined 14-of-36 from the field, but neither team shot the lights out. The Raptors shot 41.3 percent from the field -- just a tenth of a percent better than Brooklyn. DeRozan scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half.
Amir Johnson added 17 points in the win and Greivis Vasquez had nine points and a game-high nine assists off the bench.
Pierce scored 22 points to lead the Nets, Mirza Teletovic added 12 off the bench and Garnett and Deron Williams had 10 points apiece.
Toronto held Joe Johnson to just seven points in almost 42 minutes.
Asked what they did to shut down Williams and Johnson, Raptors coach Dwane Casey chuckled.
"If I tell you then I'm telling everybody. This isn't my first rodeo," he said. "Our guys executed pretty well."
The Nets, after trailing by as many as 17 points in the second quarter, took their first lead 2 1/2 minutes into the third on a Garnett layup. They were up by five before an 8-0 Raptors run, punctuated by Lowry's 3, gave the Raptors the lead back.
Teletovic's shot at the buzzer tied the score at 67-67 going into the fourth quarter and the Nets had a one-point lead after two Garnett free throws with 4:58 remaining -- their last points.
DeRozan hit two foul shots after that and Vasquez knocked down a 3-pointer.
The Raptors were clinging to the four-point lead when Pierce spun into Amir Johnson on the block and was whistled for a charging foul. Lowry drained his hook shot at the other end after that and Shaun Livingston missed a layup for Brooklyn.
"It shouldn't happen, but I thought we rushed a lot," said Pierce. "You get in a playoff situation, one guy, or two or three guys want to do it on their own instead of just running the offense. I thought we got caught up in that today."
It was the first road playoff win for Toronto since a Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals on May 6, 2001.
The Raptors -- in the playoffs for the first time in six years -- shot almost 62 percent in the first quarter. Led by Amir Johnson's 11 points, they took a 35-22 lead into the second.
They held their double-digit lead while Lowry sat out the first five minutes of the second quarter -- a trainer appeared to be massaging his sore right knee on the sideline -- but a 9-0 run near the end of the half led by Pierce helped the Nets pull within 51-44 at the break.
Patrick Patterson scored nine for the Raptors and Livingston had nine points for the Nets ... Lowry was 3-for-8 on 3-pointers and Pierce went 3-for-7 ... The Nets, in the playoffs for the second season in a row after a five-year absence, haven't been past the first round since 2007.
04/27 23:12:39 ET