NEW YORK — Patrick Patterson hasn’t played football since he was at Huntington High School in West Virginia, but the 6-foot-9 forward looked like a Pro Bowl defensive back in the waning seconds of the Toronto Raptors’ 104-103 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at the Barclays Center.
“Me, Richard Sherman, Ed Reed, we’re all in the same category,” the playful Patterson said.
Patterson not only stole guard Deron Williams inbound pass with 10.9 seconds remaining, but he also sank the game-winning 12-foot jumper for Toronto, which won for the third time in four games.
Patterson, who scored 15 points off the bench, gained some personal redemption after an air ball on a 3-point attempt with 42.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that would have given the Raptors the lead.
“That felt great,” Patterson said. “I was saying to myself after that air ball it would have been a perfect opportunity to pump-fake, one dribble and pull up, but I’m thankful I had another opportunity.”
Kyle Lowry torched the Nets for 31 points — one shy of his season high — on 10-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. However, the guard’s biggest play came on his seventh assist, when he found Patterson in the closing seconds.
“Honestly, it would have been tough passes to others,” said Lowry, who also had five rebounds, five steals and buried a 48-footer to beat the halftime buzzer. “It was the safest pass for me, and I have confidence in Pat. He shot the air ball earlier in the corner, but I have confidence he is going to make that shot every time.”
Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and 13 rebounds while playing stellar defense against future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett (six points). Guard Greivis Vasquez had 12, and swingman Terrence Ross added 10 points for the Raptors (23-21). Toronto was playing without leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, who missed the game due to a sprained left foot.
“It takes a whole village to win the game, and we did,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We knew that. It took everybody tonight, and everybody that stepped on the court contributed.”
Paul Pierce scored a season-high 33 points, including three 3-pointers as part of a 15-2 run for the Nets (20-23) in the fourth quarter. The veteran guard knocked down seven treys, but he missed a desperation heave as time expired.
“He was great, he was great on both ends,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said of Pierce. “That’s a veteran guy understanding the magnitude of a game like this at home against a team that’s in front of you. He definitely had a big game.”
Forward Andray Blatche came off the bench to score 20 points, and guard Joe Johnson added 12 points for Brooklyn, which had its season-high, five-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s tough,” Pierce said. “We fought so hard to come back, but we put ourselves in a bad position. We got down late, we got down in the fourth quarter and we had to claw our way back. We gave ourselves a chance to win. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for. We just didn’t execute properly down the stretch.”
Toronto did, though, in an airtight battle between the top two teams in the Atlantic Division that featured 18 lead changes and nine ties.
“It’s just all about our toughness, our resiliency,” Patterson said. “No matter who is out there during the course of the game, no matter who’s not playing, the guys on this team, we step up every single night and we put our hearts on the line.”
NOTES: Toronto G DeMar DeRozan, who sprained his left foot in the third quarter Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, missed his first game since April 26, 2012. The Raptors’ leading scorer (21.8 points per game) did not make the trip, snapping a streak of 125 consecutive starts dating back to Oct. 31, 2012. DeRozan has missed just eight games in five seasons with the Raptors. … Also out for Toronto was F Landry Fields (right wrist surgery). … Several players from the Seattle Seahawks watched the game from a Barclays Center suite. Cornerback Richard Sherman sat courtside. … The Nets are the first team since the 1995-96/1996-97 Chicago Bulls to start January 10-1 or better in back-to-back years, according to Elias Sports Bureau. … The Nets remain in Brooklyn to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. … The Raptors return to Toronto to play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
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