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NBA playoffs: Nets edge Raptors to take control of series

Published April 26, 2014 5:51 pm

Eastern Conference • Joe Johnson scores a game-high 29 to help Brooklyn take 2-1 lead.
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New York • Paul Pierce climbed high for the dunk, Kevin Garnett went to the floor for a loose ball, and Brooklyn suddenly looked and sounded like Boston.

The Nets brought the two champions here so it would be like this, not the way it was for their last home playoff game.

"This is a totally different team, totally different feeling," guard Deron Williams said. "I think we're poised to make a run."

Joe Johnson scored 29 points, Pierce and Garnett brought a charge to their first playoff game in Brooklyn, and the Nets held off the Toronto Raptors 102-98 on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

Johnson made the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left after the Nets blew almost all of a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead. Williams added 22 points and eight assists for the sixth-seeded Nets, who host Game 4 on Sunday night.

Pierce had 18 points, and he and Garnett provided the game's signature plays late in the second quarter, a reminder that the Nets brought the veterans here as much for their bravado as their basketball.

But all that experience almost didn't matter after the Nets made a series of mistakes down the stretch.

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Raptors, who have lost 13 straight road playoff games. Patrick Patterson added 17 points but missed two free throws with a chance to tie for Toronto, whose last postseason victory was May 6, 2001, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Philadelphia.

"I missed. First big free throws I've ever missed in my life like that," Patterson said. "Unfortunately, it (stinks) but all I can do is look forward to the next opportunity."

Kyle Lowry fouled out with 15 points, forcing the Raptors to try to complete the comeback without their point guard. And they almost did.

"This team tried to throw haymakers at us and go at us, and we did a good job of battling back and staying in the game," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

Toronto charged back and was in position to tie when Patterson went to the line with 19 seconds left. But he missed both and Pierce knocked down two to make it 100-96, and Johnson then made two with 3.1 seconds to go after Amir Johnson's follow shot as Brooklyn held on.

"It feels good to win, but at the same time you know you can be a lot better," Pierce said. Nets 102, Raptors 98

Toronto 23 22 21 32 — 98

Brooklyn 19 30 28 25 — 102

TORONTO (98)

Ross 1-4 2-2 5, A.Johnson 3-6 1-2 7, Valanciunas 4-4 2-4 10, Lowry 4-9 6-6 15, DeRozan 8-22 13-15 30, Patterson 6-7 2-4 17, Vasquez 2-6 2-2 7, Fields 0-2 0-0 0, Hansbrough 1-3 1-2 3, Salmons 2-4 0-0 4, Novak 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-67 29-37 98.

BROOKLYN (102)

J.Johnson 11-17 4-4 29, Pierce 5-9 7-7 18, Garnett 1-3 0-0 2, Williams 7-14 6-9 22, Livingston 1-3 1-2 3, Plumlee 2-4 0-2 4, Anderson 0-0 1-2 1, Teletovic 2-7 0-0 5, Thornton 2-6 2-3 6, Kirilenko 0-1 0-0 0, Blatche 2-3 8-8 12. Totals 33-67 29-37 102.

3-Point Goals—Toronto 7-22 (Patterson 3-4, Ross 1-2, Vasquez 1-3, DeRozan 1-4, Lowry 1-6, Salmons 0-1, A.Johnson 0-2), Brooklyn 7-20 (J.Johnson 3-4, Williams 2-5, Pierce 1-3, Teletovic 1-5, Garnett 0-1, Thornton 0-2). Fouled Out—Lowry, Garnett. Rebounds—Toronto 47 (Valanciunas 10), Brooklyn 39 (Livingston 6). Assists—Toronto 18 (Vasquez 6), Brooklyn 21 (Williams 8). Total Fouls—Toronto 31, Brooklyn 32. Technicals—Vasquez. A—17,732 (17,732). —

Playoffs schedule

O Friday

Brooklyn 102, Toronto 98

Nets lead series 2-1

Chicago 100, Washington 97

Wizards lead series 2-1

Houston at Portland, late

Blazers led 2-0 before Friday game

Saturday

Indiana at Atlanta, noon, TNT

Hawks lead series 2-1

• San Antonio at Dallas, 2:30 p.m., TNT (Series tied 1-1)

• Miami at Charlotte, 5 p.m., ESPN (Heat lead series 2-0)

• Oklahoma City at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. (Grizz lead series 2-1)