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New Jersey Nets beat Toronto Raptors in overtime

By Rob Dugdale
BBC Sport at the O2 Arena

New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez (R) reaches for the ball over Toronto Raptors forward Sonny Weems in the first quarter of their NBA game in London March 5, 2011

New Jersey secured a repeat win over the Toronto Raptors when they took the second NBA game of the weekend 137-136 in triple overtime at the O2 Arena.

Travis Outlaw scored New Jersey's final eight points to lead them to victory in a match that thrilled the London fans.

Brook Lopez led the Nets' scoring with 34 points and Sasha Vujacic added 25.

Toronto were led by Italy's Andrea Bargnani, who hit a game-high 35 points and DeMar DeRozan, who scored 30 points for the second successive night.

The Raptors will feel hugely deflated after the way they responded to Friday's defeat in Europe's first regular season NBA game with a much-improved shooting performance, especially in the first half.

In the end it was the Nets who shot better from distance. Astonishingly, Vujacic hit his first five attempts and went on to add another in the first overtime period.

Toronto led 30-23 at the end of the first quarter and in the second quarter their much-vaunted fast break game bore fruit, with Brazil's Leandro Barbosa again coming alive for 10 points on his way to 22 on the night.

Yet New Jersey stole a 65-62 half-time lead with late couple of threes from Vujacic, both of them on passes from Deron Williams, who ended the match with an impressive 18 assists and 21 points.

Toronto were edging the last quarter of regulation time until their scoring stalled in the closing stages.

Ed Davis missed a pair of free throws with two minutes and 26 seconds remaining and the score 106-103, inviting a Nets comeback which duly came, Williams feeding Kris Humphries for a dunk and then Lopez hitting a pair of free throws with 1:06 left.

Bargnani's missed three-pointer left Toronto in trouble, especially when Lopez saved a Williams fumble with a long two as the shot-clock expired.

Trailing 109-106 with 32 seconds left, Toronto scored on their next trip down the floor, Amir Johnson rebounding for two to break a three-minute scoring drought.

Vujacic then hit a free throw and Toronto came out of their 20-second timeout with a spin for two by DeRozan to tie the game and force overtime at 110-110 when New Jersey's last offence produced a missed three from Williams.

In the first extra period, Toronto led 119-116 only for Vujacic to hit an off-balance three-pointer on New Jersey's last offence. Bargnani missed Toronto's last opportunity and a second five minutes went on the clock.

New Jersey then held a 124-123 lead going into the last minute, only for Bargnani to splash his third three of the game with 31 seconds remaining.

Williams then rescued a blocked Humphries shot and nailed a two with 10 seconds remaining. DeRozan missed Toronto's final shot and a third extra period was necessary.

Three free throws from Vujacic, a pair of frees and then a long two from Outlaw put the Nets in charge as both teams started to show signs of fatigue.

Incredibly, Toronto came back with a two from Barbosa and, after another Outlaw basket, a two from DeRozan and a three-point play from Bargnani to trail by two points with 47 second left. With 21 seconds left, Barbosa hit a three to give the Raptors a 136-135 lead.

Outlaw then hit both free throws after a foul by Johnson with 12.6 seconds left.

Bargnani jinked against Humphries but missed his team's last roll of the dice with a fadeaway jumpshot and the Nets had escaped to a second win in a little over 24 hours.

"They deserved to win just as much as we did," admitted Nets coach Avery Johnson. "But unfortunately these games don't end in a tie. This is one of the best wins I've been involved in."

Raptors coach Jay Triano was upbeat despite having his team travel all the way from Toronto for two tiring defeats.

"It was a great game for our guys to play in," he said. "This is part of the growth we're looking for.

"We have a young team and it helps their mental focus and we've thoroughly enjoyed our trip. It's been a great experience despite the losses."

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see also
Nets win first NBA game in London
04 Mar 11 |  Basketball

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