The impossible nearly happened. The Toronto Raptors, who trailed by 15 points with 4:11 to go, nearly staged a furious comeback (shades of Nate Robinson in last year’s playoffs) to trail by just 1 with :20 seconds left, but Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson free throws allowed the Brooklyn Nets to survive with a 102-98 win in game 3.
The Nets now take a 2-1 series lead and will look to make it 3-1 in game 4 on Sunday night.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams scored 20 or more points in the same game just twice in the regular season. They each scored more than 20 in this one for the 2nd time this post-season.
Johnson led Brooklyn with 29 points, Deron Williams added 22, and Paul Pierce had 18 in the win.
After out-rebounding the Nets by 22 in game two, Toronto had just 6 more rebounds than the Nets in game 3.
Brooklyn once again got off to a fast start, but the Raptors came back to lead by 4 after one. The Nets, led by Deron Williams led by as many as 8 in the 2nd before Toronto went on a 4-0 run in the final :33 seconds to trail by just 4 at halftime.
The Nets appeared to put the game away in the 3rd by outscoring Toronto 28-21 and led by 11 entering the final frame. Brooklyn could have closed the deal after leading by 15 with 4:11 to go. Instead, Toronto went on an 18-4 run to cut the deficit to one, but it was too little to late.
For Toronto, DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 30 points, Patrick Patterson added 17 off the bench, and Kyle Lowry had 15.
Turnovers really hurt the Raptors in game 3. Toronto turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 19 Nets points.