The Toronto Raptors came into game four hoping to reclaim home court advantage in the series, while the Brooklyn Nets were looking to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Despite coming up short in game three, the Toronto Raptors came out of the gates flying in game four as they took an early 13-2 lead. The Raptors carried that momentum into a 35-22 lead after the first quarter, behind 10 points from both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
Deron Williams and the Nets cut the Raptors lead to seven at the half, as they trailed 51-44 heading into the break. The Nets came storming out of the locker room in second half, as Paul Pierce scored 10 in the quarter and Brooklyn tied the game at 67 heading into the fourth quarter,
Like every other game in this series, the outcome came down to the final few minutes in the fourth quarter. A tough runner in the lane by Kyle Lowry put the Raptors ahead 85-79 with just over a minute left to play. A pair of free throws by Lowry clinched the 87-79 victory for the Raptors and they will head back to Toronto with home court advantage in their grasp.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan came up huge for the Raptors, as they combined for 47 points. Amir Johnson also had a stellar game for the Raps as he finished with 17 points and came up with key defensive stops in the final minutes of the fourth.
For the first time in the series, the Raptors finished the game with fewer turnovers than the Nets. Toronto finished with just 12 turnovers, while the Nets had 16. The Raptors were one of the best fourth quarter teams in the league during the regular season, and they showed why in game four.
The Raptors cranked their defensive effort to another gear in the fourth quarter, as they held the Nets to just 12 points in the final frame on 3 of 17 shooting. Toronto came out with the victory despite sophomores Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross combining for just six points.
For the first time in this series, the Nets guards were severely outplayed. Joe Johnson scored just seven points on 2 of 7 shooting from the field, while Deron Williams finished with 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting and was held scoreless in the second half.
Heading into game five in Toronto, the Nets will need to improve their free throw shooting. Brooklyn finished 19 of 29 from the free throw line, which works out to 65.5 percent. The Nets had six more free throw attempts than the Raptors, but they both finished with 19 points from the line.
If the Nets are going to come up with a road victory in game five, they will need to cash in from the charity stripe. Paul Pierce was one of the few bright spots on the night for Brooklyn, as he finished with 22 points on an efficient 9 of 14 from the field.
The scoring punch from Pierce was not enough for the Nets on this night and they will need to regroup for game five on Wednesday night. This series has proven to be one of the most physical and exciting series of the NBA playoffs this season. If these games keep coming down to the wire, this may go down as one of the closest series in NBA history.
Commentary By Eric Kummel