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Raptors 87, Nets 79

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NEW YORK – Led by guard DeMar DeRozan’s game-high 24 points, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 87-79 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Sunday night at Barclays Center.

Guard Kyle Lowry had 22 points and forward Amir Johnson added 17 points for the Raptors, who tied the series at 2-2, with Game 5 Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.

Forward Paul Pierce had 22 points, forward Mirza Teletovic had 12 points and five boards, guard Deron Williams had 10 points and six assists and forward Kevin Garnett had 10 points for the Nets, who went scoreless for the final 4:57 of the fourth quarter.

The Nets led 77-73 on a Pierce layup with 6:11 remaining, but forward Patrick Patterson nailed a 3-pointer and center Jonas Valanciunas followed with a layup to give Toronto a 78-77 lead.

Garnett knocked down two free throws with 4:58 remaining to give Brooklyn a 79-78 lead.

DeRozan responded with two free throws and guard Greivis Vasquez buried a 3-pointer to give Toronto an 83-79 advantage.

Guard Joe Johnson, Garnett and Pierce were called for offensive fouls on three consecutive possessions before Lowry scored on a hook shot with 1:13 left and put the finishing touches on the win with two free throws with 30.5 seconds left.

Lowry and DeRozan combined for 11 of the Raptors first 13 points and helped the visitors open up a double-digit first-quarter lead that ballooned to 15 on five straight points by Amir Johnson late in the quarter.

Toronto led by as many as 17 in the second quarter, but after Lowry went to the bench with his third foul, the Nets closed out the second quarter on a 9-2 run and cut their deficit to 51-44 at halftime.

Pierce opened the second half with back-to-back baskets and on a layup by Garnett, Brooklyn had its first lead of the game at 52-51 with 9:27 left in the third quarter.

The Nets led by as many as five, but the Raptors made a late surge in the third and looked like they would take a lead into the fourth. However, Teletovic scored on a short jumper with 0.1 seconds remaining as the teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 67.

NOTES: Nets G Joe Johnson is one of two players in the playoffs to shoot 50 percent of better from the field, with a minimum of 12 FG attempts. Miami F LeBron James is the other. Johnson has also made all 15 of his free-throw attempts. No other player has made more than eight without a miss. … Heading into Game 4, the Nets have an NBA-best 31 turnovers through three games. … Toronto G Kyle Lowry tweaked his knee in the first quarter of Game 3, but Toronto coach Dwane Casey said he was good to play Sunday. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve been around as a guard as far as fighting through things,” Casey said. “He’s got the bum knee, a bum lip, but he’s going to fight through it and he’s not complaining about it.”

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

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