The Nets nearly gave it away, but Paul Pierce rejected Kyle Lowry as time expired allowing Brooklyn to escape with a 104-103 win in game 7. Toronto had a 3-2 series lead heading into game six, but could not close the Nets out. Brooklyn will move on to face the 2-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat beginning on Tuesday, a team the Nets have not lost to all season.
Brooklyn appeared to be well on its way to a relatively stress-free victory. The Nets led 98-89 with 3:42 remaining, before the Raptors went on a 12-4 run to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 102-101 with 16 seconds left.
A pair of Shaun Livingston free-throws, followed by a Terrence Ross lay-up made the score 104-103. Then on the ensuing in-bounds pass, the Raptors got a huge break when Ross broke up Livingston’s pass and threw it off Paul Pierce’s leg giving the ball back to Toronto.
After trailing by as many as 12 in the 2nd half, the Raptors had the ball with 6 seconds left and a chance to win the game. Pierce though, would have none of it and the Nets survived.
The first quarter was dominated by Amir Johnson who had 12, including 8 of the Raptors first 10 points. He scored 18 first-half points, but scored just two 2nd half points before he fouled out with 7:42 remaining. Toronto had a 28-26 after one.
Marcus Thorton then came alive in the 2nd scoring 10 points as the Nets built an 8-point half-time lead. Thorton provided a huge spark for Brooklyn scoring 17 points off the bench on the game, and was 4/6 from 3.
The Nets and Raptors played an even 3rd quarter before DeMar DeRozan hit a buzzer beating 3 that kept Toronto in the game heading into the 4th. DeRozan had 18 points.
Joe Johnson put the team on his back in the 4th scoring 13 of his team high 26 points. Johnson however, was held scoreless over the final 2 minutes as Kyle Lowry spear-headed a last gasp Raptors run. Lowry had a game high 28 points for Toronto.
Deron Williams scored 13 points for the Nets, but missed 2 free-throws in the final 2 minutes that almost set up Toronto for victory. Brooklyn won in spite of Williams in this one.
Kevin Garnett game to play scoring 12 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. The Nets out-rebounded Toronto 42-38 for the game. Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston each had 10 points, and Andray Blatche had 9.
For the Raptors, Jonas Valinciunas played his worst game of the series, and it wasn’t close. Valinciunas scored just 3 points and had 5 rebounds in 27 minutes, Patrick Patterson added 16 points, and Terrence Ross had 11.
The Raptors have not won a playoff series since 2001, and with this loss in game 7 to the Nets, that streak continues.
**What a difference a year makes for Joe Johnson in game 7’s. In last year’s first-round game 7 against the Bulls, Johnson scored just 6 points on 2/14 shooting.
**Drake, as well as Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec were both in attendance to cheer on the Raptors.