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NBA playoffs: Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors
Eastern Conference » Ex-Jazz guard scores 24 against Raptors.
First Published Apr 19 2014 09:07 pm • Last Updated Apr 22 2014 04:58 pm

Toronto • The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each had 24 points, Paul Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the final quarter and the Nets beat the Raptors 94-87 Saturday in Game 1 of their first round series.

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Playing in his 137th career postseason game, Pierce connected on four of his five shot attempts in the fourth as the Nets kept the Raptors at bay.

"You just get that feeling, you’ve been in those situations a number of times," Pierce said. "I don’t get rattled in the fourth quarter, down the stretch or in playoff settings. I’ve been in pretty much every playoff setting that you can imagine. I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game."

Nets coach Jason Kidd said Williams "set the tone" by scoring 18 points in the first half.

"He came out with high energy," Kidd said. "I thought he was looking to be aggressive in scoring the ball. He got the guys off to a good start."

Shaun Livingston scored 10 points and Kevin Garnett had five as the Nets won despite making 4 of 24 3-pointers.

"We didn’t shoot well from 3 tonight but we made up for that by taking care of the ball, good defense down the stretch, making plays offensively," Williams said. "That’s why we got the win."

The Nets turned the ball over nine times, while the Raptors had 19, leading to 17 Brooklyn points.

"That was the biggest issue," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.


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Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Raptors.

Valanciunas is the second Raptors player to have a double-double in his postseason debut. Tracy McGrady had 25 points and 10 rebounds against New York in his first playoff game in 2000.

"He grew up today and that was huge for us," Casey said.

Valanciunas also set a Raptors record for playoff rebounds by surpassing Keon Clark, who had 16 against Detroit in 2002.

Greivis Vasquez had 18 points for the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan had 14 in his playoff debut, making three of 14 field goal attempts.

"DeMar didn’t have the best of games" Lowry said. "He’ll bounce back for sure."

The game was delayed midway through the third quarter when the shot clocks above each basket malfunctioned. Play eventually resumed with both clocks still dark, and the stadium announcer marking the remaining time at 10 seconds, then counting down from five before saying ‘Horn’ as time expired. The clocks remained inactive for the rest of the game.

"It was definitely tough because you’re used to looking up to see the time," DeRozan said. "We just tried to help each other out when the announcer called down from 10 seconds."

In a written statement, Raptors ownership blamed the outage on a "signal path failure" that also affected the backup clocks. The team said new cables will be installed and inspected by the league before Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Vasquez called Tuesday’s game "a must-win" for the Raptors.

Trailing by five to start the final quarter, Toronto tied it at 67-67 with 9:50 left thanks to a 3 and a fast break layup from Patrick Patterson.

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