Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – Joe Johnson scored 26 points while Paul Pierce blocked a potential game-winning shot as the Brooklyn Nets advanced to the Eastern Conference second round with a 104-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in Sunday’s Game 7 at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors erased a 10-point deficit with five minutes left in the game and had a chance to advance to the next round but Pierce swatted Kyle Lowly’s attempt, helping the Nets seal a date with defending champion Miami Heat in the second round.
“We said we were gonna win this with our defense,” Pierce said. “It was a clean block.”
Marcus Thornton provided the spark off the bench with 17 points, Deron Williams added 13, Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 boards while Pierce and Shaun Livingston scored 10 points apiece for the Nets.
Brooklyn became the only team to ever beat LeBron James during a single regular season in his entire career. The Nets swept their four-game series with the Heat this season, all in close fashions.
The Nets won their first Game 7 in franchise history while Jason Kidd became the first rookie coach to ever win a road Game 7.
Game 1 of the Nets-Heat series will be played Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Lowry scored 28 points, Amir Johnson added 20 points and 10 boards, DeMar DeRozan had 19, Patrick Patterson tallied 16 and Terrence Ross chipped in 11 for the Raptors, who trailed by as many as 10, 97-87, with over five minutes left.
However, the Raptors unleashed a 14-5 run capped by a three-pointer by Lowly to cut the lead to 102-101 with 13 seconds left.
Livingston made two foul shots to make it 104-101 but Ross answered with layup to make it a one-point game.
The Raptors got a chance to win the game when Livingston threw a weak inbound pass to Pierce but Ross saved it and threw it off of the veteran’s legs and out of bounds.