Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots over Brooklyn Nets' Deron Williams (8) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 25, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II
April 25, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) Joe Johnson scored 29 points, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett brought a charge to their first playoff game in Brooklyn, and the Nets held off the Toronto Raptors 102-98 on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

Johnson made the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left after the Nets blew almost all of a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead. Deron Williams added 22 points and eight assists for the sixth-seeded Nets, who host Game 4 on Sunday night.

Pierce had 18 points, and he and Garnett provided the game's signature plays late in the second quarter, a reminder that the Nets brought the veterans here as much for their bravado as their basketball.

But all that experience almost didn't matter after the Nets made a series of mistakes down the stretch.

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