Video: Raptors' DeMar DeRozan throws down lefty dunk vs. Nets
Toronto was able to even its first-round series with Brooklyn thanks in large part to DeRozan, who posted a game-high 30 points (on 9-for-21 shooting), three assists and two rebounds. The 2014 All-Star guard scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, and none were more forceful than his southpaw slam.
With a little less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation and Brooklyn leading 69-66, DeRozan hovered on the right wing as Greivis Vasquez drove through the paint from left-to-right. After attracting the attention of three Nets defenders, Vasquez swung the ball from the baseline out to DeRozan, who suddenly had an open attacking lane to the hoop.
Reacting instinctively, the former Slam Dunk Contest participant used one gather dribble to launch himself towards the rim, switching the ball to his left hand to avoid the long arms of Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirilenko. His finish was more of a detonation than anything else, as he forcefully slammed the ball through the hoop.
"To have trust from the coaching staff and your teammates, to have the ball in your hands with a game on the line for them, that's big," DeRozan said of his fourth quarter performance, according to the Toronto Sun. "And I appreciate all 14 guys in the locker room and the coaching staff to have that trust in me. To take those shots in the fourth quarter."
Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points (on 5-for-9 shooting) and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who won their first playoff game since 2008. Amir Johnson chipped in16 points (on 8-for-10 shooting) and nine rebounds.
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 18 points (on 7-for-13 shooting), three rebounds and two assists. Paul Pierce, Brooklyn''s Game 1 hero, finished with just seven points (on 2-for-11 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Toronto, the East's No. 3 seed, is now tied with Brooklyn, the East's No. 6 seed, at one game apiece. Game 3 is set for the Barclays Center on Friday.