The Brooklyn Nets fended off another disaster Friday after a late miscue, getting the defensive stop they needed to beat the Toronto Raptors in OT, 106-105.
Exorcising one demon is difficult enough. The Brooklyn Nets on Friday night managed to take down three in one fell swoop with a gritty 106-105 overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center.
With the victory, the Nets (9-18):
- Snapped their eight-game losing streak with their first victory since beating the Miami Heat on Nov. 20.
- Snapped their eight-game losing streak at home with their first win at Barclays Center since beating the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 4.
- Snapped their 12=game losing skid at the hands of the Raptors with their first win over Toronto since April 3, 2015.
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And just for good measure, Brooklyn picked up its first win in three tries in their City Edition uniforms. So you could call this one a notoriously big victory indeed.
With so many late-game collapses just in the last couple of weeks, there had to be some “here we go again” fears when D’Angelo Russell lost the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 24.1 seconds left and the Nets holding a one-point lead.
But this time, there would be no heartbreak.
Relief? Exultation? A little of both when Jarrett Allen corralled the final rebound and slammed the ball to the floor after the buzzer sounded.
With the win, the Nets avoided a ninth loss this season after leading by more than 10 points, as Brooklyn blitzed Toronto (21-6), taking a 14-point lead over the team with the NBA’s best record in the second quarter before the Raptors clawed back to tie the game at the half.
Brooklyn survived 20 turnovers by maximizing the mistakes the Raptors made. Toronto got only 17 points off Nets miscues as Brooklyn’s transition defense was on point most of the night, holding the Raptors to just five fast-break points.
Conversely, Toronto’s 15 giveaways turned into 21 points for the Nets, who outscored the Raptors on the break 16-5.
The other area where the Nets turned the tide was on the glass, as Brooklyn out-rebounded Toronto 60-41 on the night, including 16-6 on the offensive window.
After taking a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Nets led by as many as seven, but the lead leapfrogged between the clubs in the late going. But Brooklyn did not fold.
Toronto took a 96-94 lead on a 3-pointer by Leonard with 2:23 remaining before the Nets tied it on a swooping scoop shot off a drive by Spencer Dinwiddie with 2:08 to go.
With 1:19 remaining, Allen tipped in a Dinwiddie miss to put the Nets up 98-96 before Pascal Siakam tied it with a nice pump fake to get Allen in the air before dropping in a short jumper off the window with 1:09 left.
The final minute was not a showpiece for offensive execution. Russell’s wing pass was stolen by Leonard, who threw the ball away at the other end. But Russell couldn’t stop his momentum and stepped out of bounds with 27.9 seconds left.
Leonard missed a pull-up J from 12 feet with five seconds to go. The Nets got the ball inbounds (sarcastic cheer goes here) before Dinwiddie’s drive was snuffed out by a Leonard block and we headed to overtime.
There were four lead changes in the OT after the Nets too an early 102-98 lead on back-to-back jumpers by Russell.
With 1:49 to go, Leonard knocked down a floater in the lane to put Toronto up 105-104, but with 1:04 to go, Allen knocked in a lefty layup from the baseline off a sweet feed from Dinwiddie to give Brooklyn the lead back at 106-105.
Kyle Lowry missed a step-back 3 and the Nets got possession with 44.8 seconds left, but Russell lost the ball out of bounds after dribbling off much — too much — of the shot clock, giving Toronto a chance to win with a final shot.
For the first time in a long time, the basketball gods opted not to punish Brooklyn for whatever it was it did and the Nets got a much-needed win.
Russell led the Nets with 29 points, 15 of them in the third quarter and six of Brooklyn’s eight points in the overtime. Ed Davis grabbed 15 rebounds off the bench, while Allen finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Dinwiddie went for 17 points and eight assists.
Leonard had a game-high 32 points to go with four steals for the Raptors, while Jonas Valanciunas finished with 24 points and eight rebounds. Lowry had 11 assists, but also turned the ball over five times and scored three points on a 1-of-8 shooting night.
Pascal Siakam went for 16 points and a pair of blocks and Serge Ibaka also blocked two shots.
The Nets will try and end another very long streak Saturday night when they visit the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for a 7:30 p.m. Eastern tip. Brooklyn has lost 33 straight times on the road on the second night of back-to-back games.
Here are three takeaways from the victory.