TORONTO — After shooting just 3-for-13 from the field and being held to 14 points in Toronto’s loss last Saturday, Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan went back and watched the Game 1 tape multiple times.
“I’m a student of this game, DeRozan said. “I went back and watched the whole game two or three times and just understand where I can get my shots, opportunities where I could score the easy buckets.”
DeRozan led the way with a game-high 30 points in Game 2, as the Raptors evened their best-of-seven series with the Brooklyn Nets at a game a piece with a 100-95 victory Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.
“Just really taking advantage of the mistakes I made the first game and not doing the same thing in this game,” said DeRozan, who finished 9-for-21 from the field and 12-for-14 from the free throw line. “Coming out more aggressive.”
Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Forward Amir Johnson went 8-for-10 from the field, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. Guard Greivis Vasquez had 11 points and forward Patrick Patterson had 12 off the bench for the Raptors.
DeRozan playing in his second career playoff game, had 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a great offensive player, he’s an all-star,” said Nets guard, Deron Williams, who finished with 15 points in the loss. “We knew he was going to bounce back from the first game. This is his first playoff series and he did a good job.
“He took over the game, we’ve got to do a better job of stopping him, especially late.”
Nets forward Paul Pierce missed two opportunities from 3-point range with less than 25 seconds remaining. The first would’ve given Brooklyn a late lead, and then Pierce had an opportunity to pull Brooklyn to within one with 14 seconds remaining, but couldn’t get his shot from beyond the arc to drop.
“Great looks, he had some great looks,” said Nets coach Jason Kidd. “It’s basketball, sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. With him, he made the three-point play and then the table is set, he gets a wide open three. It happens.”
Pierce finished with seven points and six rebounds.
Nets guard Joe Johnson went 7-for-13 from the field for a team-high 18 points in the loss. Forward Mirza Teletovic had 14 points, and guard Deron Williams finished with 15 points and five assists.
“We allowed 36 points in that fourth quarter, way too high for us especially for someone who prides itself on defense, getting stops, especially down the stretch. We didn’t do that tonight,” said Williams. “Break downs and they definitely got what they wanted. We couldn’t stop them.”
For the second straight game, Toronto committed 19 or more turnovers, recording 20 turnovers Tuesday.
“We definitely need to clean up on our turnovers, we definitely have to go through film, do whatever we’ve got to do to clean that up,” said Amir Johnson.
Added DeRozan “At the same time, we’re trying to play fast especially against Brooklyn, some times that may cause some costly turnovers. We understand that, We’ve still got to clean it up.”
DeRozan walked in from the elbow and threw down a monster one-handed jam much to the delight of the 20,382 in attendance — part of an early fourth-quarter 6-0 run, allowing Toronto to retake the lead 70-69.
DeRozan later made a 20-foot shot with 2:45 left to break an 85-85 tie and give Toronto the lead for good.
“I’m just happy for him because a lot of people said he had a bad game,” said guard Kyle Lowry, who finished with 14 points, six assists and nine rebounds in the win.
“Everyone has a bad game once in a while. The fact that he is an All-Star and he knows how to get his points. Tonight he just showed what he can do. He did an unbelievable job of attacking, being aggressive and he got his rhythm going. Once he gets his rhythm going, he is a hard guard.”
Earlier, Brooklyn scored on eight of nine possessions before Pierce missed a 3-pointer as the Nets used 17-6 run to take a three-point lead, 56-53.
Johnson led the way with 12 third-quarter points, including 3-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-6 from the field. Guard Shaun Livingston added six points as Brooklyn carried a 66-64 led into the fourth.
Through three quarters, Toronto committed 17 turnovers while Brooklyn committed just five.
DeRozan led the way with 11 points and Vasquez had nine off the bench as Toronto led 45-39 at the break.
Teletovic had 11 off the bench for the Nets while forward Kevin Garnett and Williams each had seven for Brooklyn at half.
After falling behind early 8-1 in the first quarter, Raptors coach Dwane Casey called a timeout to regroup his team. The moved paid off as Toronto outscored Brooklyn 20-11 in the final 8:35 of the quarter to take a 21-19 lead after one.
Valanciunas led the way for Toronto with eight points.
Garnett led the way for Brooklyn with five points as the Nets went through a stretch of missing nine straight field-goal attempts. Williams and Johnson each had four points in the first quarter.
NOTES: Raptors coach Dwane Casey finished fifth in NBA Coach of the Year voting. … Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri was fined $25,000 on Monday for the expletive he used Saturday outside the Air Canada Centre during a pep rally before Game 1. … NBA super fan James Goldstein was courtside for Game 2. … Toronto mayor Rob Ford also attended the game. … Ontario native and Kansas Jayhawks small forward Andrew Wiggins took in Game 2 of the Nets-Raptors series. … The series moves to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday night and Game 4 on Sunday.
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