Nets rout Raptors to force Game 7
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets will have another Game 7 to amend for last year's first-round exit.
They got there by pounding the paint.
Deron Williams had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists and the Nets routed the Toronto Raptors, 97-83, in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Nets manhandled the Raptors in the interior over the first 12 minutes, posting a 22-4 points in the paint edge before taking a healthy 15-point advantage into the second.
Brooklyn, which outscored Toronto 48-32 in the interior overall, maintained a double-digit lead throughout the remainder of the game despite the Raptors making a big run in the fourth.
Williams sprained his left ankle early in the third quarter, but played through the injury.
"In the three games we've won, we've been really aggressive, getting into the paint," Williams said.
After falling to the Chicago Bulls in a Game 7 last year at the Barclays Center, the Nets brought in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a trade from the Boston Celtics. They ended up with a roster worth over $180 million that features a total of 36 All-Star appearances.
But that may all go for naught if the Nets don't win Game 7 Sunday in Toronto.
Joe Johnson posted 17 points, Garnett provided 13 points and five rebounds and Pierce added 12 points and six boards for the sixth-seeded Nets.
"Us coming out and hitting first, that's what it's about," Johnson said. "Tonight we were that team and we set the tone pretty much to start the game and we sustained that throughout the whole 48 minutes."
DeMar DeRozan netted 28 points, while Kyle Lowry, who had 36 points in Game 6, was limited to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting for Toronto, which hasn't won a playoff series since 2001.
"We worked for the third seed to get home-court advantage," Lowry said. "We have to take care of home, home is not going to take care of us."
DeRozan, who had 10 points in the first quarter, nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Raptors within 14-11 midway through the frame before the Nets used a 13-3 run to seize control. They tallied all five of their field goals in the paint during the burst, which was capped on two Pierce free throws for a 27-14 cushion late in the first.
Brooklyn led 34-19 after a quarter of play.
Alan Anderson netted the final four points of the half for the Nets, including a step-back jumper from the left baseline at the horn for a commanding 60-41 spread heading into the break.
"They played faster, they got up and down the floor," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of the Nets. "They got us on our heels early."
The Nets led by as many as 26 in the third and took a 79-59 margin into the fourth. The Raptors headed into the final frame with a 22-point bulge in Game 5, but hung on despite Brooklyn tying the game in the closing minutes.
Toronto was unable to flip the script Friday. Lowry concluded a 14-2 swing with a triple to whittle the gap to 86-76 with 5:02 left, but it never got any closer.
The Nets shot 46.8 percent (36-of-77) from the floor, while Toronto finished at a 38.5 percent clip (30-of-78) ... Toronto went 26-15 at home, while Brooklyn was 16-25 on the road during the regular season.
05/02 23:58:29 ET