Norman Powell scored 24 points, including the game-clinching dunk in the dying seconds, to lift the Toronto Raptors to a 104-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, and a 2-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series.
Two days after putting on a virtual clinic in their 134-110 victory in Game 1, the Raptors laboured for most of the afternoon, particularly on the offensive end against a more energetic Nets team.
The Raptors chased Brooklyn most of the game, were down by 14 in the first quarter and trailed the Nets 80-74 with one quarter to play.
Seconds after being whacked hard in the face by Rodions Kurucs, OG Anunoby responded with a big driving dunk to put Toronto up by a point with nine minutes to play. Lowry spun around Joe Harris while drawing a foul, and his three-point play made it a six-point lead — Toronto’s biggest to that point — with 6:44 left. Serge Ibaka’s free throws stretched the difference to eight.
WATCH | Powell, VanVleet pour in 24 points each in Game 2 win:
But the Nets wouldn’t go away, and three-pointers by Harris and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot sliced Toronto’s lead to just three points with 40 seconds to play. The Raptors turned the ball over, then Powell scooped up a loose ball for a fast-break dunk with 5.6 seconds to play to clinch the victory for Toronto.
Game 3 is Friday.
Siakam has been the Raptors’ No. 1 offensive option this season since Kawhi Leonard left last summer for the Los Angeles Clippers, but there have been questions in Florida about him not performing up his capabilities.
Coach Nick Nurse is clearly becoming irked by the criticism.
“It seems to be since we got here a lot of talk about Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, Pascal, and he’s playing really well and fine and I’m not sure what everybody’s issue is with continuing to question his play and all this kind of stuff,” an irritated Nurse said in hi pre-game availability with reporters.
The 134 points the Raptors scored in Game 1 were the most ever in a regulation playoff game for Toronto.
The Raptors took a while to get going Wednesday. Brooklyn had the Raptors on their heels in the first quarter and took a 14-point lead on Allen’s alley-oop dunk from LeVert midway through the frame. The Raptors responded with a 13-0 run to pull to within a point, and then trailed 33-29 to start the second.
A mini-8-2 run put Toronto up briefly by a point in the second quarter, and Brooklyn took a 53-50 advantage into the halftime break.
VanVleet led the way with 14 points in the third quarter, but the Raptors trailed by as many as 10 in the frame.
The Raptors lost the second game in three consecutive playoff series during last season’s historic run, against Golden State, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
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