The Toronto Raptors held on, barely winning game 5 over the Brooklyn Nets 115-113 to take a 3-2 series lead.
For 3 quarters, the Nets looked like a team that had quit. After trailing by as many as 26 points, and by 22 points at the end of the 3rd quarter, conventional wisdom said the Raptors were going to run away with game 5. Conventional wisdom was wrong.
In the 4th quarter, the Nets nearly completed the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history. Brooklyn staged a miraculous comeback led by Joe Johnson who had a team high 30 points, and tied the game at 101 with 3:18 to play.
Nets coach Jason Kidd then got greedy, and attempted a full court press that resulted in a Mirza Teltovic blocking foul in the back-court giving Kyle Lowry two free-throws. He sank both, Greivis Vasquez followed with a dagger 3, but the Nets fought back once again and trailed by 2 with 4 seconds to play.
Andray Blatche was at the free-throw line, missed his 2nd free throw, and got his own rebound. Blatche subsequently fired the ball well over any Nets players head and onto the other side of the court. Deron Williams got the ball and fired a desperation heave that almost resulted in a game-winning goal-tending call for the Nets.
The play went under review, and the refs determined Blatche’s pass was not deflected by a Raptors player, and Toronto held on for the win. The Raptors will look to clinch the series in game 6 on Friday night from Barclays Center.
Kyle Lowry was on another level for the Raptors. Lowry dropped a playoff career high 36 points, including going 6/9 from 3. Whenever the Raptors needed a big play, Lowry came through. DeMar DeRozan added 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 16, and Greivis Vasques scored 15 points.
For the Nets, it was all about the 4th quarter comeback attempt that was spear-headed by Mirza Teletovic, Allan Anderson who completed not one, but two 4-point plays, and Joe Johnson. Teletovic scored 9 of his 17 in the 4th. As a team, Brooklyn outscored Toronto 44-24 in the final frame.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were flat-out no shows. Pierce was benched for the entire 4th quarter, and Garnett scored just 4 points in 12 minutes. As for Deron Williams, something is clearly up with him. He looked as bad as he’s ever had in this game, and if the Nets are going to have any reservations for Miami, Deron is going to have to pick up his game significantly.
The Raptors may have won this game, but the Nets who could have easily thrown in the towel, battled back and nearly pulled off the most miraculous comeback ever.