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Nets seek commanding lead against Raptors

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets will try to put a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Toronto Raptors Sunday night in Game 4 at the Barclays Center.

The Nets hung on for a Game 3 victory, 102-98, Friday night.

Brooklyn nearly squandered a 15-point cushion with five minutes left, but got the win for a 2-1 series lead.

Joe Johnson had 29 points and Deron Williams added 22 with eight assists for Brooklyn. The Nets also received 18 points from Paul Pierce and 12 off the bench from Andray Blatche.

"We got a little lackadaisical," admitted Johnson. "It was very uncharacteristic of us to blow a lead like that."

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 for the Raptors. Jonas Valanciunas tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Lowry scored 15 before fouling out for Toronto.

A 3-pointer from Johnson raised Brooklyn's lead to 93-78 with 5:02 remaining, but Toronto scored the next eight and the Nets nearly gave the game away.

Williams missed two foul shots with 40.7 seconds remaining, failing to extend a 97-93 lead. DeRozan drained a layup at the other end and was hit by Kevin Garnett, who fouled out. DeRozan made the foul shot with 34.3 seconds on the clock, but Shaun Livingston countered by making 1-of-2 from the charity stripe 14 seconds later.

Patrick Patterson, who had 17 points, had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds remaining, but missed two free throws. The second attempt kicked off the heel of the rim and Toronto's Landry Fields touched the ball as he tried to save it inbounds.

Pierce drained two from the charity stripe with 14.6 seconds to go, but Amir Johnson's putback off a DeRozan miss made it a 100-98 game with 3.7 seconds left.

Joe Johnson made two more from the free-throw line less than a second later to seal the outcome and send the Raptors to their 13th straight road playoff loss. Toronto's last playoff road win came May 6, 2001 at Philadelphia.

"I love the fight from my team," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "This team tried to throw haymakers at us and go at us and we did a good job of battling back and staying in the game and competing."

Brooklyn has won four of the last five meetings between the teams at the Barclays Center.

The Raptors haven't won a postseason series since 2001 when they beat the New York Knicks in the first round. The Nets haven't advanced in the playoffs since 2007.

Game 5 will be back in Toronto on Wednesday night.

04/27 10:35:21 ET

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Scoreboard
MLB
Final
BAL 5
TOR 2
Final
NYM 5
MIA 6
Final
TAM 1
NYY 0
Final
ATL 2
WAS 4
Final
CHC 1
CIN 0
9th
KAN 2
CWS 3
 
Final
HOU 3
CLE 1
9th
MIN 6
DET 8
 
7th
COL 3
LOS 11
 
6th
ARI 4
SFG 0
 
4th
ANA 4
SEA 0
 
6th
SDP 1
PHI 0
 
4th
IND 27
PHI 27