The closing seconds of Monday night’s Nets/Raptors contest will go down as one Brooklyn will certainly want to quickly forget.
After a Nets timeout in which they were looking to inbound and try to run out the final 12 seconds with a 103-102 lead, Raptors guard stepped in front of Deron Williams’ pass intended for Joe Johnson, then stunned a Barclays Center crowd that featured members of the Seattle Seahawks by knocking down a short jumper to take a 104-103 lead. Paul Pierce had a chance to win the game at the horn, but his three-point attempt was short and Toronto left Brooklyn with the one-point victory.
The loss also snapped the Nets’ seven-game home unbeaten streak and five-game win streak.
One night after an emotional return to Boston, Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce played perhaps his best game in a Nets uniform to-date, scoring a season-high 33 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. But the Raptors increased their Atlantic Division lead over the Nets to 2.5 games with the win and also remained undefeated against Brooklyn in the two games both teams have played against each other this season.
The game featured eight lead changes in the first half, but Raptors’ guard Kyle Lowry sank a half-court shot at the buzzer to give visiting Toronto a 57-56 lead.
In the second half, the Raptors used an 8-0 run for a 94-85 lead with over eight minutes to play before Brooklyn answered with a 9-0 spurt to tie it up, followed by consecutive 3-pointers by Pierce to make it 100-96 with over two minutes to play.
Pierce later knocked down a pair of free throws for the Nets final points on the night to set up the dramatic, stunning finish.
“Paul played well,” teammate Kevin Garnett said afterwards. “He totally carried us for that fourth quarter, that second half, and we all came in and just said at the end of the game we've got to make plays, we've got to close games out and tonight we didn't do that.”
Andray Blatche added 20 points for the Nets while the Raptors were led by Lowry’s 31 points and seven assists.
The Seahawks are in town this week to play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The team held their media day festivities Tuesday at Prudential Center in downtown Newark, where the Nets played from 2010 to the end of the 2012 season.
Brooklyn will look to regroup against Western Conference power Oklahoma City and arguably the league’s first half MVP, Kevin Durant, when the Nets welcome the Thunder to Barclays Center on Friday night.