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Nets 101, Raptors 97

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NEW YORK – Paul Pierce wasn’t expected to play, but Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd was sure happy he did. The Nets guard buried a 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter to help lift the Nets to a 101-97 win over the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center Monday night.

Pierce, who left Sunday’s win over the Kings with a bruised shoulder, knocked down his 3-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock to give the Nets a 97-94 lead.

Guard DeMar DeRozan followed with a pair of free throws to pull Toronto within 97-96 with 1:03 left.

A turnover by Raptors forward Terrence Ross led to a pair of free throws by guard Shaun Livingston to extend the Nets’ lead to 99-96 with 22.8 seconds remaining.

Guard Kyle Lowry missed a step-back 3-pointer that would have tied it, and forward Andray Blatche went 1-of-2 from the foul line to seal the win for Brooklyn (32-30), which stretched its season-high home winning streak to eight games.

Livingston and guard Deron Williams scored 18 points apiece, Pierce had 15 and guard Joe Johnson had 14 for the Nets, who evened the season series with Toronto 2-2.

Lowry had 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, forward Amir Johnson had 16 points and five rebounds and forward Tyler Hansbrough had 16 points for the Raptors (35-27), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

As he did to open the game, Johnson scored the first basket of the third quarter, giving the Nets their first lead since 2-0.

The teams exchanged the lead throughout the third quarter until the Nets went on a 14-0 run on an inside basket by forward Mason Plumlee and four consecutive 3-pointers by Johnson and Williams, to take a 73-60 lead with 4:28 left in the third. It was their largest lead of the game.

The Nets were 6-of-6 from 3-point range in the third quarter after going 2-for-8 in the first half.

Toronto responded with 11 straight points, the last four from the foul line by Hansbrough, who came off the bench to score in double figures for the fourth time this season, to pull within 73-71.

Ross helped stake the Raptors to a 30-19 lead after one quarter, scoring 12 of his team’s first 18 points.

In the first quarter, Pierce became the fifth player in NBA history to make 1,900 career 3-pointers, joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Kidd and former teammate Jason Terry.

NOTES: Nets F Kevin Garnett (back spasms) missed his sixth straight game and F Andrei Kirilenko was out with a sprained right ankle. Brooklyn G Paul Pierce, who left Sunday’s game with a right shoulder injury, was listed as a game-time decision, but was a surprise inclusion to the lineup, according to Nets coach Jason Kidd. “I thought he was out and this is the kind of player and competitor he is, he wants to play,” Kidd said before the game Monday. “So the concern at any position you take a pounding no matter what. He’s a pro and he wants to help this team win and he understands how important he is to the team.” … The Raptors were without F Patrick Patterson (right ulnar collateral sprain). … The Raptors return home to take on Detroit Wednesday in the first of a three-game homestand. … The Nets will play back-to-back games on the road beginning Wednesday in Miami.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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