The Truth will set you free, and it did exactly that in game one for the Brooklyn Nets.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each scored 24 points, Paul Pierce added 15, and the Brooklyn Nets held off the Toronto Raptors 94-87 to take game one of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, despite the shot clock not working for the majority of the 2nd half.
After 19 consecutive missed 3-pointers from the 2nd through late 4th quarters, Paul Pierce decided that was enough. With 2:58 left and the Nets clinging to a 3-point lead, Pierce nailed a 3 to put the Nets up 6. He then proceeded to score 9 straight for Brooklyn and by the time Pierce was finished, the Nets had a 7-point lead with 51 seconds to go.
The Nets got off to a fast start in this game and led by as many as 12 in the first quarter. Toronto responded to trail by just 4-points at halftime.
It appeared the Nets were going to pull away again in the 3rd with an 8-point lead, but Kyle Lowry hit a buzzer-beating 3 to cut the Raptors deficit to 5 entering the 4th.
Toronto continued to battle in the 4th and finally took a 76-75 lead with 5:13 to play. Joe Johnson, who was far and away the most efficient offensive player all game for the Nets hitting 8 of 13 shots and making all 8 of his free-throws, came back with a jumper to put Brooklyn back in front.
That’s when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who always seem to save their best for last took over. Garnett made just one-field goal all game and it could not have come at a better time. The Nets led by 1 with 3:56 left, when the Big Ticket finally got one to go to put the Nets up 3.
Kyle Lowry did his best for the Raptors scoring a team high 22 points to go along with 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 rebounds. Greivis Vasquez was huge for Toronto scoring 18 off the bench.
That was the good for Toronto, there was also plenty of bad. Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross scored a combined 5 points, and DeMar Derozan shot just 3/13 from the field. That’s not going to get it done for the Raptors.
In total, the Nets bench, which had been so good all year, did not show up in this game either. Toronto’s bench outscored Brooklyn’s 29-16.
While it wasn’t Brooklyn’s best game, the Nets still hung on and will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead when these two team meet again on Tuesday night.
**Andrei Kirilenko did not appear in the game for the Nets.