Slumping Nets escape Raptors

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Andray Blatche (right) top-scored for Brooklyn Nets with 24 AP
Andray Blatche (right) top-scored for Brooklyn Nets with 24 AP

The struggling Brooklyn Nets were looking to kill time off the clock late in the game and nearly shot themselves in the foot.

Andray Blatche scored 24 points, Joe Johnson added 21 and the Nets snapped a five-game slide after surviving a late meltdown to slip past the Toronto Raptors 102-100 on Tuesday night.

“The guys said enough was enough,” Nets coach Jason Kidd explained. “These guys have a bunch of pride and they understood what they had to do tonight against the division-leading Raptors and got us a big win on the road.”

Paul Pierce netted 16 points and Kevin Garnett contributed 12 for the bottom-feeding Nets, (4-10), who posted their first victory since November 15 over Phoenix.

The Nets led 101-86 on Blatche’s put-back lay-in with 5 minutes 22 seconds left but they suffered a meltdown with shoddy play and turnovers.

The Raptors took advantage and Rudy Gay’s 3-pointer from the left wing capped a 14-0 tear, making it 101-100 with 23.7 ticks left.

Shaun Livingston was fouled with 11.2 seconds left and missed the second of two free throws at the other end, giving the Raptors a shot to tie or go ahead.

Gay couldn’t find any openings out of a timeout, and spotted Amir Johnson in the left corner. But his potential game-winning 3-pointer missed and Steve Novak couldn’t get the tip-in to fall at the buzzer.DPA

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