x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

NBA: Brooklyn Nets get new era under way with late win over Toronto

Brook Lopez ensured a winning start in the Nets' new home while Luol Deng could not prevent the Chicago Bulls going down 89-82 to New Orleans.

Kris Humphries grabs a rebound as the Brooklyn Nets face the Toronto Raptors at their new stadium
Kris Humphries grabs a rebound as the Brooklyn Nets face the Toronto Raptors at their new stadium

The Brooklyn Nets baptised their new Barclays Center home with a 107-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

The Nets led by 13 points in the third quarter, but had to hold off a late charge by the Raptors, who narrowed the score line to 97-95 with 75 seconds left.

Eventually a three-point play by Brook Lopez gave Brooklyn the necessary cushion in their first game of the season.

"The experience was just absolutely amazing," said Lopez. "The crowd brought so much energy, its Brooklyn energy."

Center Lopez led the Nets with 27 points, while Kyle Lowry scored 28 points and DeMar DeRozan had 25 for Toronto, who fell to 0-2 after an opening home loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The Nets, who moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey, had been scheduled to play their home opener on Thursday against cross-city rivals the Knicks, but the game was postponed in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

Overcoming a slow start with Toronto leading by eight after the first quarter, the Nets turned on the jets in the second with help from their bench players to outscore them 33-17 for a 60-52 halftime lead.

The Nets extended their lead to double digits before the Raptors turned it into a nail-biter at the finish.

A three-pointer by Lowry, who had fuelled Toronto's fast start by hitting his first three shots from beyond the arc, put the game on the line with a three-pointer to make it 97-95.

But Lopez received a pass down low from Gerald Wallace and made the bucket, drawing a double fist pump from the Nets' billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov up in the stands.

Chris Bosh poured in an impressive 40 points as the Miami Heat held off the Denver Nuggets 119-116 at the American Airlines Arena.

However, it was a jumpshot by Ray Allen with 6.7 seconds remaining that propelled the Heat to this NBA victory, despite Bosh's eye-catching effort.

Brandon Jennings left things even later, with a three-pointer at the buzzer giving the Milwaukee Bucks a 105-102 success over the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Luol Deng led all scorers with 19 points for the Chicago Bulls - but they lost 89-82 to the New Orleans Hornets.

A sell-out crowd of more than 20,000 at the Verizon Center saw the Washington Wizards pay for a slow start, eventually going down 89-86 to the Boston Celtics.

Double overtime was needed at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with the Indiana Pacers prevailing 106-98 over the Sacramento Kings.

The Portland Trail Blazers were also strongest in overtime against the Houston Rockets, winning 95-85 - James Harden again led the Rockets' scoring with 24.

OJ Mayo had an impressive 30-point haul in the Dallas Mavericks' 126-99 defeat of the Charlotte Bobcats, while Tony Parker's 24 helped the San Antonio Spurs see off the Utah Jazz 110-100.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE