The Least You Should Know
[sny-box] In a battle of the two top teams in the Atlantic Division, the Raptors held a 94-85 lead with just over eight minutes remaining. But the Nets rallied on the shoulders of Paul Pierce to go on a 9-0 run to tie the game and eventually take the lead.
With the Nets leading by one with 12.0 seconds to go, Patrick Patterson stole the inbound pass from Deron Williams and then hit the go-ahead jumper.
The Nets had no timeouts left, so Paul Pierce furiously dribbled down the court with six seconds left, but his prayer hit the front rim, giving the Raptors the win.
Pierce led all scorers with 33 points – a new Nets’ high. Kyle Lowry poured in 31 points and added five rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Off the bench for Brooklyn, Andray Blatche scored 20 points and grabbed six boards.
This one was a heartbreaker. All D-Will had to do was get in a clean pass, and the game would have been sealed with free throws.
But that’s unfortunately not how this one ended. It’s a shame because it was a great game up until that point.
The atmosphere was intense all night between these teams that are becoming Atlantic Division rivals. The Raptors have now taken two of the three matchups this season and increase their division lead over the Nets to 2.5 games.
Even without leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors had plenty of energy all night. Lowry shot lights out, and Valanciunas was so tough in the paint.
So the Nets’ winning streak has stopped at five, and it’s been the Raptors that have handed the Nets their only two losses of the calendar year 2014. Ironically, the first loss was the second half of a back-to-back and so was this one.
These teams really are evenly matched though. The Nets won the first quarter 26-25; the Raptors held the advantage 32-30 in the second quarter; and the second half was deadlocked at 47 points apiece.
Circle your calendars for March 10 when the Raptors again visit Barclays Center. Meanwhile, Toronto does have a tough five-game West Coast road trip looming, so the Nets must put this loss behind them with the chance to potentially make up some ground.
Brooklyn has a few much-needed days off before hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was against OKC on Jan. 2 that the Nets began their 2014 hot streak. Tip is set for 8:00 PM.