Nets hang on against Toronto to snap a five game losing streak

Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson led the Nets against the Raptors as they broke their five game losing streak. AP Photo.

Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson led the Nets against the Raptors as they broke their five game losing streak. AP Photo.

The Brooklyn Nets nearly blew it when the Toronto Raptors went on a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter, but Amir Johnson missed a chance to win the game on a three as time expired and the Nets held on to win 102-100 in Toronto Tuesday night. The win snapped a five-game losing streak and is just their second in 10 games.

“We came out aggressive on defense,” Andray Blatche said. “Our communication was the best this year. We talked on defense, offense. We came out with a lot of pride, a lot of effort. I just want to say the coaches told us what we had to do and we came out and did our job.”

The Nets started out strong as they grabbed an early 22-12 lead thanks to 10 points by Andray Blatche in the quarter, but the Raptors went on a 12-4 run to cut the lead to just two points. The Nets regained their composure in the second half behind seven points from Joe Johnson and took a 55-51 lead into halftime.

The real test, everyone knew, was going to be the third quarter.

The Nets won the third, barely, 26-25 and they only won it after Johnson hit a jump shot with just three seconds left. It didn’t matter that it was just one point, the Nets won the third quarter. The mood of the fans was immediately lifted; it could be seen on the players faces and in the way they moved.

The Nets carried that energy into the fourth quarter where they started off with a 20-10 run where everyone on the court, Tyshawn Taylor, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce, all contributed. That built up a 15 point lead that they would put to the test as the Raptors immediately pulled out a 14-0 run to get back to within one with 23.7 seconds left.

The Nets might have caught a break in the final seconds as the Raptors oddly waited to foul Shaun Livingston as the clock ticked down to 11.2 seconds. Livingston only hit one of two shots, but it didn’t matter as Amir Johnson missed a three attempt as time expired and the Nets barely held on to win.

Andray Blatche lead with 24 points and five rebounds, Joe Johnson had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists and Paul Pierce had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. The Nets shot 50.6 percent as a team, outrebounded the Raptors 39-34 and beat them in the paint 48-28.