BROOKLYN - Welcome home, Brooklyn! Friday night was Game 3 of the first round playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors. The two teams entered the series tied at 1-1, but Brooklyn was looking to continue their hot streak of home basketball.
Happy to be back in Brooklyn, the Nets took a 2-1 series lead as Deron Williams Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce led the way. The Nets topped the Raptors, 102-98, showing the toughness throughout that Pierce had asked for after Game 2.
The Nets got out to a quick and, more importantly, aggressive start. After Paul Pierce said the team was "soft" in Game 2, you could see that they were going to "go hard," early and often. Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce all got hits on Jonas Valanciunas early, sending a message that they were going to make him work hard for each rebound and post-up.
Midway through the first, Mason Plumlee entered the game for Kevin Garnett at his regular 6-minute mark, and off the first play out of the timeout, Plumlee went up to ball deny DeMar DeRozan, knocking him over -- in a clean play -- and once again sending the message of toughness.
NBA Playoffs: Nets vs. Raptors Game 3
NBA Playoffs: Nets vs. Raptors Game 3
Brooklyn lost its rhythm late in the first quarter, allowing the Raptors to build a bit of a lead, 23-19, at the end of one.
Kidd went to the bench to start the second quarter, along with Shaun Livingston, who entered the game as a gam-time decision. Andrei Kirilenko, who didn't play in the first game, got in early in the second quarter. He helped provide some much-needed activity to a somewhat listless bench unit.
Andray Blatche hurt his knee midway through the second quarter when he collided with DeMar DeRozan. He had to head to the bench to be tended to by trainer Tim Walsh.
The Nets were down 35-33 when Kidd put the starters back in at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter. They managed to build a lead. It also helped that Jonas Valanciunas picked up his third foul with five minutes to go in the second.
Pierce got the crowd amped up when he crossed over Tyler Hansbrough on his way to a wide-open dunk. With a minute to play in the second the crowd had finally gotten into the game, as the Nets led 47-41. Williams, however, picked up his third foul in the closing second of the half.
At halftime, the Nets led 49-45.
The Nets foul woes hit them early in the third when both Livingston and Garnett picked up their fourth fouls. Fortunately, Joe Johnson was there to pick up the slack, hitting back-to-back threes, giving the Nets a 9-point lead with seven minutes to play in the third. Johnson was on fire, scoring 10 points in the quarter.
Andray Blatche returned to the game at the 3-minute mark in the third, after Mason Plumlee had picked up his third foul. Paul Pierce nailed a three late in the third to keep the Nets lead at seven, followed by a baseline drive where he hit Blatche for an easy dunk.
At the end of the third quarter, the Nets led the Raptors 77-66.
Mirza Teletovic opened the fourth quarter hitting a three and really igniting the crowd. Pierce, Johnson and Williams continued to lead the charge, while the Raptors attempted to work the ball back into the paint with the Garnett- and Plumlee-less Nets.
With 6:45 left in the game, Kyle Lowry picked up his fifth foul when he reached in on Blatche. He hit both free throws to give the Nets an 86-73 lead. One play later, Valanciunas picked up his fifth foul. Both players stayed in the game.
Brooklyn continued to hit shots, responding to every Raptors run. Again, it was the trio of Johnson, Pierce and Williams leading the way for the Nets.
The Raptors pulled to within four in the final minute before Greivis Vasquez was called for a technical foul. Williams hit two free throws, but they couldn't put the Raptors away. Williams later missed three of four free throws and DeRozan hit a three-point play to pull the Raptors to within one point.
Lowry fouled out with 20.3 seconds remaining, sending Livingston to the free-throw line where he hit one of two of his free throws, giving the Nets a 2-point lead. On the missed three throw, Blatche fouled Patrick Patterson on the rebound sending him to the line. Patterson missed both free throws.
The Nets finished off the Raptors, winning 102-98.
Johnson finished with a team-high 29 points. Williams added 22 points. Pierce had 18 points and five rebounds.
Game 4 is Sunday in Brooklyn at 7:00 PM.
For more on the Raptors, see: Raptors HQ
- Nets vs. Raptors - Game 3 Box Score - NBA.com
- NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors, 7:00 PM - NetsDaily
- NBA Playoffs 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets vs. Raptors - NetsDaily
- Raptors vs. Nets: Highlights (Video) - NBA.com
- D-Will's Stepback Jumper (Video) - NBA.com
- Dump It In (Video) - NBA.com
- Lowry With The Left (Video) - NBA.com
- DeRozan To Hansbrough (Video) - NBA.com
- Dunk of the Night: Paul Pierce (Video) - NBA.com
- Assist of the Night: Deron Williams (Video) - NBA.com
- Johnson Nets 29 (Video) - NBA.com
- Postgame: Johnson and Williams (Video) - NBA.com
- Postgame: Jason Kidd (Video) - NBA.com
- Postgame: Dwane Casey (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Hold Off Furious Rally From Raptors (Video) - ESPN
- Nets Fend Off Raptors (Video) - ESPN
- Nets Avoid Collapse and Put the Raptors in a Hole - YES Network
- VIDEO: Kevin Garnett dives on floor, sends Barclays Center into a frenzy - The Brooklyn Game
HIGHLIGHT: Paul Pierce Blows By Tyler Hansbrough & Slams It Down - The Brooklyn Game
- Lint's Role: A fan at Barclays channels Drake (GIF) - The Brooklyn Game
- Pierce and KG fire up the home crowd (Audio) - Chris Carrino - WCBS via Brooklyn Nets Podcast
- The Nets found a way to win while the Raptors learned valuable lessons - Dave D'Alessandro - Star-Ledger
- Nets hold off Raptors for Game 3 win, 102-98 - Craig Wolf - Star-Ledger
- SEE: Rihanna wows the crowd at the Raptors-Nets playoff game - Kevin Manahan - Star-Ledger
- Nets win Game 3 in nail-biter, 102-98 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Sullivan: Garnett helps Nets gain momentum - Tara Sullivan - The Record
- Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson to the rescue - Steve Popper - The Record
- Raptors' Landry Fields trying to make the most of his minutes - Steve Popper - The Record
- Nets hold off Raptors late in Game 3, must finish stronger if they plan to advance - Mitch Lawrence - New York Daily News
- Nets hang on in waning moments to defeat surging Raptors, take 2-1 series lead - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett wake up silent Nets crowd - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Moment of truth as Pierce comes alive for Nets - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
- Nets hold off Raptors, take 2-1 series lead - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- NBA Draft returning to Barclays Center - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Blatche has big game off bench in Nets’ Game 3 win - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Joe Johnson not impressed with Landry Fields - Zach Braziller - New York Post
- Dynamic duo of Johnson and Williams help Nets finish strong - George Willis - New York Post
- Raptors guard suffers multiple injures in loss - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Nets Avoid Collapse and Put the Raptors in a Hole - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Joe Johnson scores 29 as Nets top Raptors, take 2-1 lead - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets give fans something to cheer about - Neil Best - Newsday
- NBA playoffs let Nets know to stay focused - Neil Best - Newsday
- Nets Hold Off Raptors, Take 2-1 Series Lead - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal
- Joe Johnson and Deron Williams Spoil Brooklyn Trip for Masai Ujiri and Toronto Raptors - Michael Scotto - Sheridan Hoops
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 102, Raptors 98 - Brooklyn Nets Blog - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Brooklyn Nets win, in some ways, feels like a loss - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Brooklyn Nets respond to trash talk with win at home in Game 3 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Kidd: '04 Nets-Knicks 'wasn't really a series' - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- 2014 NBA playoffs -- Casey: Calls 'difference in game' - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- ESCAPISM: Nets 102, Raptors 98 (PLAYOFF GAME GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Repping the Nets (and gawking at Rihanna) at Barclays (Game 3) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets, Fighting Themselves, Squeeze Out Win - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Game Recap: Nets 102 — Raptors 98 - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Raptors head coach: It’s the refs - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Media making the Garnett narrative up as they go along - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Raptors offence goes stale in Game 3 vs. Nets - Ryan Wolstat - Toronto Sun
- Raptors beaten up and bruised, but vow to fight on against Nets - Steve Simmons - Toronto Sun
- Raptors drop Game 3 to Nets in Brooklyn - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- Raptors' Terrence Ross trying to figure out how to succeed in playoffs - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- Raptors: Terrence Ross at loss to explain his poor NBA playoff appearance so far - Lori Ewing - Canadian Press
- Raptors’ huge rally comes up just short against Nets in Game 3 - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- LIVE: Raptors-Nets Game 3 in-game blog - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors fans refuse to let Mother Nature rain on their parade - Gemma Karstens-Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors fall in Brooklyn but all is not lost: Arthur - Bruce Arthur - Toronto Star
- Raptors comeback falls just short as Nets take series lead - Cathal Kelly - Toronto Globe & Mail
- Toronto Raptors’ late comeback falls short in loss to Brooklyn Nets, trail series 2-1 - Eric Koreen - National Post
- Toronto Raptors point guard Greivis Vasquez’s brashness is just what his team needs - Eric Koreen - National Post
- Toronto Raptors fan mimics Drake with lint-rolling celebration in Brooklyn - National Post