Nets 97, Raptors 83

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NEW YORK -- Point guard Deron Williams scored 23 points and the Brooklyn Nets staved off elimination with a wire-to-wire 97-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Game 7 is Sunday in Toronto.

The Nets faced elimination at the Barclays Center for the second time in as many seasons. Last year, they came back from a 3-1 deficit before losing 99-93 to the Chicago Bulls in Game 7.

Williams helped the Nets ensure that lack of energy was not an issue as he made 8-of-16 shots from the field after scoring 23 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the floor in the previous two games.

Williams' biggest shot was a 3-pointer with 1:13 remaining after Toronto seemed likely to cut the lead below double digits for the first time since the first quarter.

Nets forward Joe Johnson contributed 17 points while constantly facing double teams and effectively passing out of them. Center Kevin Garnett added 13 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes after playing just 12 minutes in Game 5.

Forward Paul Pierce chipped in 12 points and six rebounds as the Nets dominated the paint by a 48-32 margin and shot 46.8 percent from the field.

Guard DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 28 points, making 8-of-18 shots from the floor and 10-of-11 free throws. Point guard Kyle Lowry was 4-of-16 from the field and finished with 11 points for the Raptors, who shot 39.5 percent from the floor (30-of-78).

The Nets played about as flawless of an opening half as a team facing elimination could.

Brooklyn opened a 14-8 lead on a reverse layup by Williams through multiple defenders and a 3-pointer that forced Toronto into an early timeout.

The Nets expanded the margin to 34-19 after the first quarter by making 13-of-19 shots from the field, outscoring the Raptors 22-4 in the paint and controlling the glass by a 14-4 margin.

Brooklyn never relented using a 9-0 run to take a 21-point lead. The Raptors were within 15 twice in the final two minutes of the first half, but guard Alan Anderson hit a running layup and a buzzer-beating step-back jumper from the right wing that expanded the lead to 60-41 at halftime.

Williams appeared to injure his left ankle while getting fouled by Lowry with 9:55 left in the third quarter. He was attended to by trainer Tim Walsh, stayed in and split two free throws for a 63-43 lead before hitting an open 3-pointer about a minute later.

Consecutive dunks by center Jonas Valaciunas cut Brooklyn's lead to 73-57 with 4:01 left in the quarter, forcing a timeout. But the Nets took a 79-59 lead into the fourth.

Two foul shots by DeRozan cut the deficit to 84-73 with 7:40 left and that prompted the quick return of Johnson and Williams.

Brooklyn's lead hovered in the 10- to 12-point range the rest of the way before Williams hit his biggest shot of the night after getting beaten by Lowry with 2:50 remaining.

NOTES: During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Nets coach Jason Kidd said it was mind-boggling how G Joe Johnson attempted one free throw in Game 5. On Friday, the league fined him $25,000. That is the same amount that Toronto GM Masai Ujiri paid for his F-Brooklyn remark before Game 1. ... Kidd did not comment on the fine, merely saying: "It's a beautiful day out, isn't it?" ... Kidd also shaved the beard he had sported since the beginning of January. ... While crediting the Nets for making shot after shot during a 44-point fourth quarter in Game 5, Toronto coach Dwane Casey conceded that the final 12 minutes were about as undisciplined as his team had played all season. ... Johnson was awarded an additional two points from Game 5 and wound up with 32. The basket was initially credited to G Deron Williams. Rapper Drake, global ambassador for the Raptors, attended Friday's Game and was booed when shown on the scoreboard while a Jay-Z song blared. Jay-Z owned a stake in the Nets before having to sell when he started his Roc Nation sports agency.

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