The Brooklyn Nets needed everyone to step up if they wanted to extend their season and stave off the possible breakup of this core.
Deron Williams led the team with 23 points as their core four all scored 12 or more points. Joe Johnson had 17 points, Kevin Garnett 13 and Paul Pierce contributed 12 points to help Brooklyn come out on top.
The Nets ran out to a fast start in the first quarter, outscoring the Raptors 34-19, hitting 68 percent of their shot attempts and out-rebounding the Raptors 14-4.
That set the tone for the game as Brooklyn raced off to a 26-point lead and Toronto never got back within single digits the rest of the night despite the best efforts of DeMar DeRozan.
The Raptors All-Star had 28 points but couldn’t fire the Raptors past the Nets’ stifling defense as they hit just 38.5 percent of their field goal attempts.
Toronto did embark on a run to close to within 10 points, 89-79 with a few minutes remaining as Brooklyn’s offense stagnated and the Raptors found shots that weren’t falling earlier began to fall now.
That was before a Deron Williams three-pointer restored a 13-point cushion and sent this first-round series to a pivotal Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.
This is the second Game 7 Brooklyn has faced in the last two years, last year falling to the Chicago Bulls on their own floor in a lacklustre showing.
Toronto has never won a seven-game series in the playoffs, their last triumph coming in 2002 in the old best-of-five format.
Deron Williams: 23 points, 8-16 FGS, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Joe Johnson: 17 points, 5-12 FGS
Kevin Garnett: 13 points, 5-7 FGS, 5 rebounds
DeMar DeRozan: 28 points, 8-18 FGS, 10-11 FTS
Kyle Lowry: 11 points, 4-16 FGS, 4 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 9 points, 4-5 FGS, 9 rebounds
Game 7 @TOR: Sunday, May 4th. Tip: 1pm ET