NBA playoffs: Paul Pierce’s block punctuates Brooklyn’s Game 7 win
Slowed by foul trouble and struggling with his shot, Paul Pierce still found a way to come up big for the Brooklyn Nets, right when they needed him most.
Pierce blocked Kyle Lowry’s shot from the lane on the final play of the game, and the Nets held off the Raptors, 104-103, in Game 7 Sunday in Toronto to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
‘‘I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,’’ Pierce said. ‘‘I saw him split the defenders, I saw him go up, I went up with him.
‘‘I got my hand on the ball — game over.’’
The Nets will begin the conference semifinals at Miami Tuesday night, facing the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
Pierce had more fouls (three) than points (none) in the second half, but his only block punctuated a hard-fought series win for the Nets.
Leading by 1, Brooklyn used its final timeout after failing to inbound the ball. On the second opportunity, Shaun Livingston tried a lob pass to Pierce, but Terrence Ross knocked the ball out of bounds off Pierce.
Toronto used a timeout and gave the ball to Lowry, whose driving shot was blocked as time expired.
Joe Johnson scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nets. Marcus Thornton scored 17, and Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the series.
Amir Johnson fouled out with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, which trailed by 10 with just over six minutes remaining.
Lowry finished with 28 points and DeMar DeRozan 18 for the Raptors, who fell to 0-2 in franchise history when playing in a Game 7. Toronto lost Game 7 of the 2001 conference semifinals.
Spurs 119, Mavericks 96 — Tony Parker scored 32 points and host San Antonio led by as many as 31 in closing out a tense first-round series against Dallas in seven games.
Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, Danny Green added 16 points, and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 15 points apiece for San Antonio. The Spurs advance to face the Portland Trail Blazers.
Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Dallas.
. . .
Blake Griffin scored 24 points, Chris Paul had 22 points and 14 assists, and the Clippers outlasted the Warriors, 126-121, in Game 7 in Los Angeles late Saturday night to win their first-round series.
The Clippers advanced to a matchup with Oklahoma City.
Stephen Curry had 33 points and nine assists for Golden State, which blew a late lead.