Raptors Even Out Series Against Nets

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TORONTO (CP) – DeMar DeRozan poured in 30 points to lift the Toronto Raptors to a 100-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of their playoff series Tuesday, showing none of the post-season jitters that had plagued him in Game 1.

The best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is tied at one game apiece.

Amir Johnson had 16 points and nine rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 boards for his second double-double of the series, while Kyle Lowry had 14 points, nine boards and six assists. Patrick Patterson added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Atlantic Division champions.

Joe Johnson topped the Nets with 18 points, while Deron Williams had 15, Mirza Teletovic added 14, and Kevin Garnett fnished with 13.

Toronto outrebounded Brooklyn 52-30.

The series shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey predicted a completely different group of players _ especially DeRozan _ would show up for Game 2 after the majority of them looked overwhelmed by the bright lights of the playoffs in Game 1.

The Raptors led by as much as 11 in the second quarter but the Nets got hot in the third and took a 66-64 advantage into the fourth.

DeRozan poured in seven points early in the fourth _ including a massive left-handed dunk that had capacity crowd of 20,382 fans at the Air Canada Centre that included Mayor Rob Ford, Drake and multimillionaire NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, roaring.

DeRozan had to take a seat with seven minutes to go after picking up his fifth foul, and looked frustrated when the television cameras showed him sitting alone at the end of the bench during a timout.

The 24-year-old all-star returned with about three minutes to play and promptly knocked down two huge shots, his second a fadeaway jumper from 18 feet that had him flexing his chest and growling in celebration.

Lowry had a basket and a steal that led to a Patterson free throw that put Toronto up by five wth 1:10 to play, and the Raptors point guard raised his hands to the crowd like a conductor directs an orchestra.

Paul Pierce, who scorched the Raptors down the stretch in Game 1, missed on a shot that would have tied the game with about 30 seconds to play, and then DeRozan drained two free throws with 20.6 seconds left to seal the victory for Toronto.

Johnson took flight for a massive dunk to the delight of the delirious fans _ the perfect punctuation mark on a solid game by the entire Raptors team.

If there was one glaring negative, it was turnovers _ again. The Raptors coughed up 17 points on 21 turnovers. Saturday, they gave up 17 points on 19 turnovers and vowed to clean up the giveaways.

The players at least didn’t have to put up with the distraction of Saturday’s shot-clock fiasco. The power sources to the clocks were replaced after they were fried in the third quarter of Game 1, leaving announcer Herbie Kuhn to count down the 24 seconds on each possession.

As in Game 1, hundreds of fans jammed Maple Leaf Square outside the ACC to watch the game on the giant screen.

Valanciunas led the way with eight points in the first quarter punctuated by a circus play that led to a Ross basket _ Valanciunas took a shot and missed while falling down, and grabbed his own rebound while still on his backside, chucking a pass from the seated position. The play was part of a 15-3 run that put the Raptors up by five with about three minutes left in the quarter. The Raptors took a 21-19 lead into the second.

A Raptors opened the second with a 14-7 run to take an 11-point lead but the Nets fought back to cut Toronto’s lead to 45-39 heading into the dressing room at halftime.

Johnson ran amok for 12 points in the third, and the Nets outscored the Raptors 27-19 in the quarter to lead by two points with a quarter left to play.

NOTES: Casey finished fifth in voting for NBA coach of the year announced earlier Tuesday. He received five first-place votes.

(The Canadian Press)

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