Kyle Lowry cemented his place as the best player in the series with a massive, consistent performance. The bulldog point guard finished with 36 points, six assists, and one turnover, hitting big shot after big shot as the Nets crawled their way back.
The game ended with a bizarre turn of events as Andray Blatche missed a free throw with five seconds left, followed by a scrum for the rebound. Blatche came up with it and tossed it into the backcourt, when the refs blew their whistle. Deron Williams picked the ball up and hurled it at the hoop, seemingly on line before Jonas Valanciunas might have performed the worst goaltend in the history of the world, had it counted. It didn't, however, and the Raps held on.
Joe Johnson was the only thing the Nets had going for much of the game, and he finished with 30 points. He didn't factor into the first half because of foul trouble and general malaise, but if it wasn't for him, that crazy sequence above never would have happened.
The first half was swinging back and forth pretty evenly until the end of the second quarter, when Lowry absolutely exploded, including hitting an insane bank shot buzzer-beater to cap it off. Lowry scored 21 points, 11 more than anyone else on either team, and led the Raptors to an 18 point lead, 62-44, after the first half.
During the first half, the Nets simply looked sluggish. Paul Pierce led the team with 10 points, but Williams couldn't hang with Lowry, Kevin Garnett was invisible and Johnson didn't even finish the half. They looked tired and like they were ready to get run off the floor.
In the third quarter, that's exactly what it looked like was happening. The Raptors kept the momentum going right out of the gates and pushed the lead to 26 points. Raptors fans were so confident they were mocking the Nets by chanting "BROOOOK-LYN."
Then, Johnson happened. He scored 26 points in the second half and single-handedly kept the Nets in the game when it looked like they weren't even in it. The Raptors were up, 91-69, after the third quarter, but the veteran-filled Nets didn't quit. With Pierce and Garnett on the bench, the Nets closed the gap completely and tied it at 101 with three minutes left. They couldn't take the lead, however, and Johnson's efforts were for nothing.
Mirza Teletovic did have a big night for the Nets, scoring 17 points on 4-8 shooting from three-point range with a +31, somehow. Toronto's DeMar DeRozan had a monster game, scoring 23 points with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Game 5 is Friday in Brooklyn, and it's hard to imagine it's going to be as bonkers as Game 4.