BROOKLYN NETS: Paul Pierce's 3-Pointer At 1:14 Sticks A Claw Into Raptors. Now It's Off To South Beach To Combat The Heat.
Toronto's Atlantic Division Lead Cut Down To Three Games
I still don't know how the Spurs let that game get away, but I digress...
For as long as the Miami Heat are defending NBA champions, they are the measure of all teams. The South Beach Cagers are next on the schedule, and perhaps the match up couldn't have come at a better time for the Hoops of Flatbush.
By gaining victory in Monday night's thriller over the division leading Toronto Raptors, the Nets improved to 5-1 in March, 22-9 in 2014, and are now two games over .500 with a 32-30 record - their best mark of the season. More importantly, they closed to within three games of the Atlantic lead.
With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche, and Shaun Livingston on the floor, the Nets completed a 14-0 run, staking them to a 73-60 lead with 4:28 left in the 3rd quarter. Brooklyn then went cold, while Toronto went on their own three minute long 11-0 run. The Raptors had closed to with 73-69 with 1:17 left in the quarter.
Kevin Garnett did not play, but Paul Pierce played despite a sore shoulder, and nailed a HUGE clutch 3-pointer to give the Nets a 97-94 lead with 1:14 left in the 4th quarter. Then following a Deron Williams turnover, the Nets flexed their defense and came up with their own turnover in the defensive end. Toronto fouled with 0:24 left. Livingston converted a pair of free throws to give Flatbush a 99-96 lead. They would eventually secure a 101-97 final over Toronto.
Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston led the team with 18 points each. Toronto's Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 21 points. Brooklyn had five players score in double-digits. Paul Pierce was next in with 15 points, while Joe Johnson dropped 14 points.
Kyle Lowry also led all players with 7 assists, while Deron Williams registered 5 assists to lead the Nets.
Overall, Toronto out-rebounded Brooklyn, but Mason Plumlee tied for game high with 8 boards.
The home team buried the Raptors from 3-point land. Toronto was 49.3% shooting from the field, and only 6/23 from beyond the arch. Brooklyn shot 48.6% from the field, and a mighty 11/20, or 55% from 3-point land.
Toronto led by one point at the half, and outscored Brooklyn in the 4th quarter by a 24-23 margin. The Nets 3rd quarter play was the difference, in which they overcame their halftime deficit, and outscored Toronto by a 28-22 clip.
The Miami heat lead the Southeast Division with a 44-17 record, and are currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference behind Indiana. The Nets remained in the 6th spot. The Heat are 3-3 in March, and just ended a 3 game skid with a victory over Washington. Prior to that, they had won 8 straight games.
The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets have two more regular season meetings, the first of which comes Wednesday night.