Nets Turn Playoff Push into Playoff Shove, Beat Raptors For 10th Win in 12 Games
BROOKLYN – It’s time to stop calling what the Brooklyn Nets are doing a "playoff push."
After the tremendously thrilling 114-109 win over the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Barclays Center, playoff push doesn’t do justice to the run the Nets are on.
Call it a playoff shove. Heck, call it Breaking Down the Door to the Playoffs.
“We’re playing together,” said Coach Lionel Hollins. “We’re helping each other.”
The Nets (35-40) extended their season-high winning streak to six games. They did it by getting some great individual performances and a combined team tenacity that allowed Brooklyn to outscore Toronto (45-31) by an astonishing 74-48 in points in the paint.
The Nets, who rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit, now have won 10 of 12 and are alone in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They are a full game ahead of the idle Miami Heat and a game and a half ahead of the Boston Celtics, who lost at home to the Milwaukee Bucks.
KEY PLAY I: Thaddeus Young, who scored 29 points, his high in a Brooklyn uniform, rose up and dropped in a missed Deron Williams’ floater from inside the lane. Brook Lopez got the first tip. Young skied for the second tip, giving the Nets a 111-109 lead.
KEY PLAY II: After Lou Williams drained a long three that put the Raptors ahead 107-106, Deron Williams drained a three of his own, giving the Nets a 109-107 lead with 46.2 seconds left. The triple gave Williams 31 points, a season high.
KEY PLAY III: With 9:53 left, Brook Lopez got the ball at the foul line and was covered by Tyler Hansbrough. Lopez drove hard right, converted the layup and was fouled. He finished the three-point play, giving the Nets their first lead of the second half at 87-85. Lopez had 30 points and 17 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive glass, tying a career high.
KEY STRETCH: Deron Williams drove hard to the basket with 7:24 left in the third quarter. There was contact but no call; D-Will was livid.
The no-call lit his fuse. He scored 13 of the Nets’ next 14 points. Then he assisted on the next four baskets and hit a short jumper to start the fourth quarter and tie the score 79-79.
It was the best Williams has looked all season. And it came off his 26-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist game in the Nets’ 100-98 win over the Knicks.
NETS GAINS: The franchise. Not only did the win keep the Nets solidly in the playoff picture, but it showed how dangerous this team is. Lopez has carried them. Williams has gotten hot. And Young had his best game in a Brooklyn uniform.
KEY STAT: The Nets destroyed the Raptors, 74-48, in points in the paint.
TALK: “We’re figuring out how to help each other and play for each other,” said Lionel Hollins when discussing the team’s play. “It’s fun to watch.”