Nets edge Raptors to advance in playoffs
Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets plays against Jonad Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors in Game Seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Air Canada Centre on May 4, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada - by Claus Andersen
The Nets won the best-of-seven Eastern conference series four games to three to earn a shot at two-time defending champions Miami in the second round.
LeBron James and the Heat will host game one of that series on Tuesday.
But it came down to the final second, when Brooklyn's Paul Pierce managed to block Raptors guard Kyle Lowry's potential game-winning jump shot to preserve the one-point margin.
"Lowry, we knew he was going to get to the hole," Pierce said. "There was a scramble for the ball. I saw him go up, I went up for the block.
"Clean block at the end, it was a great playoff series," Pierce added of the drama-filled seven-game set.
The Raptors, who haven't won a playoff series since 2001, forced the deciding game seven with a 97-83 victory in Brooklyn on Friday.
On Sunday they finished the job, advancing in the post-season for the first time since they beat the Raptors in 2007.
The Nets had led by 10 points with less than six minutes remaining, but the Raptors, cheered on by a manic home crowd, continued to press.
"They're a grind it out team," Pierce said. "They have so many fourth-quarter comebacks.
"I just think we have to do a better job defending," said Pierce, adding: "This was a great, great series. I'm glad to be a part of it."
The game was among a record five game sevens in the opening round of the playoffs.
The total already matches the NBA record for the most seventh games in all rounds in any playoff year.