This one stung.
A turn-back-the-clock game by Paul Pierce had Barclays Center buzzing Monday night as the Nets erased a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit. They were up one with mere seconds left, and the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors were on the ropes.
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Then Deron Williams' costly gaffe KOd the Nets.
Patrick Patterson stole Williams' ill-advised inbounds pass intended for Joe Johnson, then got the ball back from Kyle Lowry and hit a jumper with six seconds to play, sending the Nets to a brutal 104-103 defeat in front of a stunned crowd of 15,790. The Nets' winning streaks -- five overall and seven at home -- were snapped.
So rather than moving within a half-game of Toronto (23-21) for first place in the division, the Nets (20-23) were upended by the Raptors for the second time this month, dropping their 2014 record to 10-2.
"It's tough. It definitely hurts, man," Williams said. "The bad thing about it is I've got three days to sit and think about it. So that makes it even worse. But nothing I can do now. I can't take it back. I wish I could. But it's not my first time turning the ball over to lose a game, probably won't be my last."
Patterson spoiled Pierce's season-high 33-point effort -- 22 of which came in the second half -- near the end of a frantic final minute.
After a turnover by Williams with 21.9 seconds left, Lowry (31 points) was whistled for a charge with 19.8 seconds to play and the Nets ahead 101-100.
Pierce hit two free throws for a three-point edge with 17.4 seconds left, but John Salmons' layup cut it to one with 12 seconds to play, and the Nets called their final timeout to set up an inbounds play.
But Williams panicked as the five-second count neared and threw it away as he looked for Johnson. "I turned it over," he said. "Didn't have any timeouts, pretty much everybody was covered up, the first couple of options. I kind of saw Joe open, but just kind of a bad pass."
Nets coach Jason Kidd said, "It happens. You put the ball in your best players' hands and you ask them to make plays. Basketball, sometimes you make a mistake and turn the ball over, and that's what happened tonight."
After Patterson put the Raptors ahead, the Nets had no timeouts and no ability to advance the ball to midcourt, and Pierce fired a desperation 29-footer that barely hit the rim. That created an eerie hush among a crowd that seemed sure the Nets were about to pull out the win.
"We didn't have a play," Pierce said. "When you are going upcourt with six seconds to go, things are moving so fast. So the thought is you want to either find somebody or get the open shot. Once I got it past halfcourt, it wasn't any time to make the pass. So I took a shot."
Now it's all about uplifting Williams' spirits. "We as players and as teammates, we want to make sure that the confidence is high around here, and you just don't get that sitting in your locker by yourself," Kevin Garnett said. "We talk about the game. We talk about what each other saw, and the perspectives, and next time we're in that position, what can we do to get better? And it was a positive conversation. With Deron, we as teammates are going to support each other, and tonight was no different from that."