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Rapid Reaction: Nets 97, Raptors 83


NEW YORK -- Andray Blatche and Paul Pierce were right: The Brooklyn Nets are heading back to Toronto.

The Nets were aggressive from start to finish on Friday night. They beat the Raptors 97-83 at Barclays Center to set up a decisive Game 7 at Air Canada Centre on Sunday.

Brooklyn led by as many as 26, then held on late.

What it means: The Nets have never won a Game 7 (0-2) nor come back from a 3-2 series deficit in their franchise’s NBA history (0-4). They’ll have their chance to complete a couple of firsts soon enough.

We found him! There was a "missing" poster of Deron Williams outside the arena that quickly went viral on Twitter. Maybe the Nets showed it to Williams before the game, because he played with passion from the start. An aggressive Williams outplayed Kyle Lowry and finished with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes. During the series, Williams has been great in wins and bad in losses. He was great on Friday night.

But how’s his ankle? Williams hurt his left ankle on a drive to the basket with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter. He was in agony, and had to hobble around for a bit. The fans chanted his name. He stayed in the game, but it didn’t look good.

Well-coached: Jason Kidd coached arguably his best game of the season. After getting on the officials about foul calls and getting a $25,000 fine from the NBA as a result, Kidd made some excellent adjustments. He inserted Alan Anderson into the starting lineup in place of Shaun Livingston, and the move paid dividends. He also brought in Blatche as his first big man off the bench and did not play rookie Mason Plumlee. He even played Kevin Garnett for a series-high 27 minutes. Garnett hit some huge shots in the fourth quarter and ended up with 13 points and five rebounds.

As for the foul differential? Toronto 25, Brooklyn 14. Joe Johnson foul shots? Nine. Johnson (17 points) was good early, then went away late, but the Nets didn’t need him.

D it up: The Raptors shot just 38.5 percent for the game. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points. Lowry had 11 on just 4-for-16 shooting. For the first time in the series, the Nets won the rebounding battle, 45-42. They also outscored the Raptors in the paint 48-32.

Coming out strong: The Nets came out aggressive from the start, getting baskets in the paint. They shot 68.4 percent in the first quarter, outscored the Raptors 22-4 in the paint and stunningly outrebounded them 14-4. Brooklyn led 60-41 at the half because it scored a season-high 34 points in the paint for the first half. Defensively, Brooklyn held Toronto to just 14-for-38 from the field in the first half.

Up next: Game 7 on Sunday at Air Canada Centre. Time TBD.