Nets Top Raptors 94-87 in Series Opener
(TORONTO) -- The Brooklyn Nets acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for moments like these.
Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, Garnett stepped up defensively during crunch time, and the Nets topped the Toronto Raptors 94-87 on Saturday in Game 1 of their first round playoff series.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 24 points for Brooklyn, who took homecourt advantage from the Raptors despite making just 4 of 24 3-pointers.
Brooklyn got off to a hot start, but the Raptors kept battling back. They took a 76-75 lead on a Greivis Vasquez transition three with just over five minutes to play, but the Nets immediately responded thanks to big plays from Pierce and Garnett.
"You just get that feeling, you've been in those situations a number of times," Pierce said. "I don't get rattled in the fourth quarter, down the stretch or in playoff settings. I've been in pretty much every playoff setting that you can imagine. I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game."
There was a lot of trash talk between the two teams before the game. General manager Masai Ujri even joined in on the fun. He shouted "F--- Brooklyn!" at a fan rally outside Air Canada Centre prior to the game and it was caught on video by a fan. He apologized at halftime with the Nets leading 50-46.
"Wrong choice of words out there," he said. "It is really not about me. It is about the players and the playoffs.
"Just trying to get the crowd out there rattled -- wrong choice of words. I apologize to kids out there and to the Brooklyn guys. Nothing against them. Just trying to get our fans going. That's it."
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 22 points in the loss, while center Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Game 2 will be played on Tuesday night in Toronto.
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