Raptors defeat Nets to tie up series
NEW YORK — DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry added 22, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 87-79 on Sunday night to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece.
Amir Johnson had 17 points for the Raptors, who started fast, gave up all of a 17-point lead, then shut the Nets down over the final 5 minutes to snap a 13-game road losing streak in the playoffs that went back 13 years.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Toronto, with the series now guaranteed a return to Brooklyn on Friday for Game 6.
Paul Pierce scored 22 points for the Nets, who were 3 for 17 in the fourth quarter and didn’t have a field goal after Pierce’s basket with 6:13 left gave them a 77-73 lead.
Kevin Garnett had 10 points for the Nets, but Joe Johnson and Deron Williams were mostly non-factors in getting outplayed by Toronto’s backcourt. Johnson had only seven points on seven shots after averaging 23.7 points in the first three games, and Williams was 4 of 12 for his 10.
Pierce nearly carried the Nets without them, but Toronto put it together down the stretch to pull it out.
Garnett gave the Nets their last lead with two free throws with 4:58 left, but DeRozan made two free throws before Greivis Vasquez made a 3-pointer for an 83-79 advantage. The Nets had a series of offensive fouls along with their missed shots, and Lowry made a basket with 1:13 to go before closing it out with a pair of free throws.
The point guard bounced back nicely after the Nets banged him around in their Game 3 victory. Toronto nearly came from 15 down in the final 5 minutes to win that one, and carried that momentum into a quick start Sunday.
The Raptors scored a franchise playoff-record 35 points in the first quarter, then managed just 32 combined in the second and third as the Nets surged ahead with a 22-4 run.
The Raptors were 4 for 21 in the third, but then turned to their defense down the stretch for their first road victory in the postseason since winning at Philadelphia in Game 1 of the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Now they won’t need to win on the road again, with home-court advantage back in their favor.
WIZARDS 98, BULLS 89
WASHINGTON — Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and Washington scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back in taking a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.
John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six. Washington played without forward Nene, who was suspended for grabbing Jimmy Butler by the head in Game 3.
Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13 for 16 shooting for Chicago, but his teammates combined to go 22 for 62 from the field.
TRAIL BLAZERS 123
ROCKETS 120, OT
PORTLAND, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 10 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 123-120 in overtime Sunday to take a 3-1 advantage in their first-round playoff series.
Nicolas Batum added 25 points in the first win for the home team in the series, which moves to Houston for Game 5 on Wednesday. It was the third overtime game of the series.
The Blazers haven’t advanced out of the first round since the postseason in 2000
James Harden had 28 points and Dwight Howard added 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets.
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