TORONTO (AP) — Kyrie Irving hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Brooklyn Nets rallied to beat the Toronto Raptors 119-116 on Friday night, extending their winning streak to a season-high five. .
Irving scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, eluding Toronto’s Fred VanVleet to hit the game-winning basket, the first game-winning basket of his NBA career.
“Honestly, I was thinking about the basket,” Irving said. “I saw Juancho (Hernangómez) come a little early, so I decided to take him back and I took my time, I managed to keep my balance under me.”
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said he planned to give Kevin Durant the ball for the final shot, but Durant convinced Vaughn to let Irving shoot instead.
“He was already cooking, so I didn’t want to get in his way,” Durant said of Irving. “I felt like he could get whatever he wanted there. I also felt like they weren’t going to run and fold it either. They let him play 1 on 1 and it was a special, special shot.”
He was Brooklyn’s first game-winning buzzer since Brook Lopez scored one in a home win over Detroit on March 21, 2017.
Vaughn said Irving has the right personality for such a high-pressure shot.
“He definitely has the inner peace and poise that you have to have in that situation to not panic,” Vaughn said. “And he has an innate ability to get into his place. He wanted to get up, he created the space with balance.”
Irving said that competitive desire, not comfort, is his main driver.
“I don’t feel very comfortable, I just want to be great in those situations,” he said. “I have failed more than I have succeeded.”
A disappointed VanVleet said that Irving deserved credit for his cold-blooded basket.
“He’s the best in the world at it,” VanVleet said. “You have to say hello”
Durant scored 26 points and Nic Claxton had 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six blocks as the Nets overcame an 18-point deficit to sweep Toronto’s season series for the first time since 2002-03.
VanVleet matched his season high with 39 points. Scottie Barnes had 26 and Pascal Siakam added 17 as the struggling Raptors lost their fourth straight, season-worst season.
Yuta Watanabe scored 17 points for the Nets against his former team, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left. Ben Simmons and TJ Warren each had 10 points for Brooklyn, which won nine of 10.
Toronto’s OG Anunoby was unavailable for the third straight game with a sore left hip, while guard Gary Trent Jr. was unavailable with a sore left quad.
Malachi Flynn scored 13 points as the Raptors lost back-to-back home games for the first time. Toronto is 10-5 north of the border.
The Raptors led 62-44 after Siakam’s 3-pointer with 1:17 left in the first half, but Brooklyn closed out the second quarter on an 8-0 run, cutting it to 62-52.
“It was a great effort for us to get to 10 at halftime,” Vaughn said.
The Nets outscored Toronto 17-8 in the first five minutes of the third to cut the deficit to 70-69, and Durant’s basket with 3:25 remaining in the fourth gave Brooklyn a 77-76 lead, the first of the game.
Toronto went 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the third and the Nets took an 88-84 lead into the fourth.
Nets: G Patty Mills (non-COVID-19 illness) did not travel to Toronto and is a doubt for Sunday’s game in Detroit. … Won its third straight road game, a season high. Brooklyn is 8-7 on the road. … He shot a season-best 60.5% (46-of-76), including 14-of-20 in the fourth.
Raptors: VanVleet scored 25 points before halftime, a season high for any half. … Hernangómez made his second start of the season as Toronto used its 16th starting lineup in 29 games.
Nets: In Detroit on Sunday night.
Raptors: Host Golden State on Sunday night.
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