TORONTO — Kyle Lowry’s prolific offense carried the Toronto Raptors to a big lead, and his defensive smarts saved the game.
Lowry scored a career playoff-high 36 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer after Toronto had blown a 26-point lead, and the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 115-113 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
Joe Johnson scored 30 points and Mirza Teletovic had 17 for the Nets, who scored 44 points in the fourth quarter, but lost their final chance when Andray Blatche fired a pass well over Deron Williams’ head into the backcourt for a turnover.
Blatche said Lowry’s defensive pressure on the play led to the decisive mistake.
“Shaun (Livingston) made a great play to keep the ball alive,” Blatche said. “I tried to get the ball out to (Williams) so he could get the three and take the game home. (Lowry) ran out and was forcing me to make a tougher pass, and I threw it in the backcourt.”
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas scored 16, and Greivis Vasquez added 15 for the Raptors, who would advance to face Miami in the second round with a victory in Game 6 on Friday in Brooklyn.
The Nets, meanwhile, are facing elimination after consecutive losses.
“We’ve just got to play with a sense of urgency,” Williams said. “We have to now. If we lose, we’re done.”
Toronto led 94-72 on a three-pointer by Vasquez with 11:23 remaining, but Brooklyn scored 15 of the next 18 points, including a four-point play by Alan Anderson, to make it 97-87 with 7:15 remaining.
Johnson later converted a three-point play, then made a three to tie it at 101 with 3:16 left.
Lowry put Toronto back on top with a pair of free throws, and a triple by Vasquez gave the Raptors a five-point lead with 2:46 left.
Two free throws by Blatche and a three by Teletovic tied it at 106 with 1:23 left, but Lowry made a three, then followed a layup by Blatche with a driving hook shot, putting the Raptors up 111-108 with 27 seconds remaining.
Johnson missed a jumper and DeRozan was fouled after grabbing the rebound, making both to put Toronto up by five, but Amir Johnson fouled out on Anderson’s corner three. Anderson’s free throw made it 113-112 with less than 10 seconds left.
Spurs 109, Mavericks 103: Tony Parker was nursing a sprained left ankle and playing a critical playoff game on no sleep only hours after the birth of his first child.
It was the perfect formula for a resurgent performance from the San Antonio point guard.
Parker had 23 points and five assists, and San Antonio never trailed in its victory over Dallas, taking a 3-2 lead in the teams’ first-round series.
Manu Ginobili had 19 points and Tiago Splitter added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs. Tim Duncan contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 15 points for San Antonio.
Vince Carter led the Mavericks with 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting. After averaging just 16 points in the series’ first four games, Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points.
Rockets 108, Trail Blazers 98: In Houston, Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 points as Houston avoided elimination. Portland now holds a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.
Former Arizona State star James Harden added 17 points on just 5-of-15 shooting for the Rockets, while teammate Omer Asik chipped in 10 points and pulled down 15 points.
Wesley Matthews paced the Trail Blazers with 27 points and Damian Lillard added 26.
Game 6 is scheduled for Friday in Portland.